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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 



GIFT OF 

Estata of 
Mary Klngsley 



YWjjuXhm^jC Uu^I^ 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 

THE VOYAGE OF A SOUL 



By WILLIAM I McFEE 




OABDKN Cmr NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

1916 



DEDICATION 

To iho$0 who lio$ and toil and lowly die, 

Who past beyond and leave no lasting trace. 
To those from whom our queen Prosperity 

Has turned away her fair and fickle face; 
To those frail craft upon the restless Sea 

Of Human Life, who strike the rocks uncharted. 
Who loom, sad phantoms, near us, drearily, 

Stormrdriven, rudderless, with timbers started; 
To those poor Casuals of the way-worn earth. 

The feckless wastage of our cunning schemes. 
This book is dedicate, their hidden worth 

And be<iuty I have seen in vagrant dreams! 
The things we touch, the things we dimly see, 

The stiff strange tapestries of human thought. 
The silken curtains of our fantasy 

Are with their sombre histories overwrought. 
And yet we know them not, our skill is vain to find 
The mute souTs agony, the visions of the bUnd. 






i^ 









CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Book Ons: Thx Suburb ....•• i ... »•, • 1 

Book Two: The City 127 

Book Thbbe: The Sea . . ... .. • > ., .. .. .. 225 



K^909C;29 



BOOK ONE 
THE SUBURB 



Bringk^ up a famUjf i$ no joke.* 



ABOUT twenty years ago, late in January, snow was 
falling over North London. It fell for some hours 
continuously; "without intermission" the Evening 
Star said, whose subeditor lived in the neighbour- 
hood; and the said sub-editor sent his nephew, who was learning 
the business, to the British Museum, to look up heavy snow- 
falls from 1792 downwards. And by teatime the whole of North 
London, from the Manor House to High Bamet Church, from 
Hampstead Heath to Enfield Highway, was very white indeed. 

At a few minutes past four in the afternoon the triangular 
open common land, which is now the correct and asphalted 
park called Trinity Gardens, Wood Green, was deserted. Save 
where an open trench for pipes bisected it like a black knife- 
gash, " all spotless lay the untrodden snow." In the Trinity 
Road Higher Grade Board School, which fronted this blanket 
of virginal purity, the Sixth, Seventh, and ex-Seventh Standards 
were receiving their weekly spoonful of " English," after an 
exhausting week of French, German, Chemistry, Botany, Electric- 
ity and Magnetism, Physiography, Euclid, Algebra, Calisthenics 
and the Tonic-Sol-Fa Method of Voice Production. The Eng- 
lish tabloid for the week was " Hohenlinden," and the senior 
assistant teacher, who cared more for white blood corpuscles and 
protoplasmic continuity than hellei-lettrei, misunderstood the ob- 
vious excitement among the boys massed beneath the big rostrum. 
Preoccupied with the biological difficulties of the B.Sc. Final, he 
selected Bert Gooderich to stand up and read the poem through. 
Now Bert Gooderich was not a suitable person to stand up and 
read a poem through. He was a brown-haired, black-eyed youth 
of fourteen (nearly), built compactly, and solidly, like a sack 
of concrete cement, with the mouth tied up. He was muscular, 
with a promise of lengthening bone and deepening chest. His 
voice had broken a month or so before. His round-barrelled 
calves touched .as he stood with his feet together. Pulling the 

London School Board text-book towards him he held a blue and 

8 



4 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

white handkerchief to his face. He wiped his nose, slid the 
half-dissolved sugared-almond dexterously from his mouthy re- 
placed the handkerchief in his pocket, and sniffed. 



"On — on Linden, Wen the $akn wca laaw^ 
Orl spotless ly$ the — untrodden snaow. 
An* dawk an' fokUry was — tha — flaow 
Of^I-eer-^raoUin' rapidly." 

I do not propose to spell eyerjthing Bert says witii the above 
phonetic accuracy. But that is how he talked. 

He seemed a little startled by the peculiar scanning of the 
last line. It seemed wrong somehow, left him with a chestful 
of breath. He said that last line again, to make sure. He 
looked out of the comer of his eye at the grinning comrades 
about him and sniffed impassively. He felt under no obligation 
to give the affair of Hohenlinden any further notice. 

" Eeser, not Iser/' said the teacher sharply. " I heard Mr. 
Talbot tell you yesterday that t in German is pronounced ee.** 

Bert Gooderich looked at the word " Iser " again. There it 
was — I-8-e-r. If that wasn't Eyser, he had no use for it. Pos- 
sibly the German lesson had contained something like that, but 
Bert had been preoccupied with a young Japanese rat in a con- 
densed milk-tin which Flying Machine Brown had shown him 
under the desk. 

"Begin again, Gooderich,** said the teacher, and Gooderich 
began again. The teacher looked at the clock. All the boys 
save Bert did the same. It was twenty-four minutes past four. 
The teacher looked at his watch, and those boys who had watches 
did the same, surreptitiously. Six minutes more, and then — 

"On Linden, when the Bun was low, 
AU spotless lay the untrodden snow" 

The teacher with sudden intuition realised exactly the ap- 
propriate nature of the poem to the day, and smil^ through 
the window at the falling flakes. With the maddening servility 
of schoolboys the class did likewise. Some even ventured to 

giggle- 

The senior assistant teacher frowned the smile and giggles 

out of existence. He exerted his authority, and the gigglers 

found themselves standing on the form, a wearisome penance. 

It was now twenty-six minutes past four. Bert Gooderich had 



CASUALS OF THE SEA $ 

again tackled the last line with dubious enunciation and heaved 
a sigh of relief. English literatore was not his forte. 

" Who wrote Hokenlinden, Brown? " asked the teacher. 

Brown, Flying Machine Brown, in his brother's old coat and 
his father's Shakespear collar. Brown with his alert yet vacnons 
features, did not know* The senior assistant teacher found it 
increasingly difficult to find anything that Brown did know. 
Sometimes, in the evenings, he would debate with the others who 
shared his room, who would be top of the Sixth Standard. He 
never debated who would be bottom. It was always Brown. 

One or two hands were put up — self-conscious, apologetic 
hands. The owners of the hands were obviously anxious to avoid 
being considered erudite. The others thought you cocky if you 
put up your hand too often. 

*' Thomas Campbell wrote Hohenlinden, Brown," said the 
teacher sadly. And the hands dropped quickly. Bert Gooderich 
sat down and resumed the sugared-almond. 

" Yes, sir," said Brown brightly, willing to learn and anxious 
not to be kept in. 

" Yes, sir ! " mimicked the teacher. " And you'll forget it be- 
fore you get home, eh? " 

Brown hoped so, but smiled diplomatically. 

** All right," said the teacher, " that'll do; Alder, collect the 
books." 

Alder, a Noel Park oil-and-colour-merchant's son, received the 
books from the end boy of each form, all the others scraping 
their feet and thrusting exercise books into h<nne lesson bags. 
Behind the huge green curtains which cut the room in two, you 
could hear the junior standards dattering out by the back door. 
A great hubbub arose throughout the schooL Caps were snatched 
from the hooks, mufflers tied on, satchels slung over the left 
shoulder, and the Sixth, Seventh, and ex-Seventh Standards 
swarmed out into the chapel yard. It should be noticed that the 
Higher Grade School was part of the premises behind the 
Wesleyan Chapel, whose buttresses formed small courts convenient 
for marbles, chewy chase, and small-boy torture. 

Eventually the whole school was trampling the whiteness of 
the Trinity Road. Many boys had short sticks, others had 
" blood-knots," pieces of clothes-line with a knot at one end. All 
looked eagerly across the triangular common towards the citadel 
of '* the Michaels." 



6 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

The Michaels were the nearest enemies of the " Graders." 
The Michaels were cut off from democratic and bourgeois sym- 
pathy by their religion^ which was church. They were choir-boys, 
many of them ; others were worse — they were Roman Catholics. 
Their school lay on the high road near the high church, between 
the devils of the Graders and the surging sea of Boarders or 
common Board School lads from Whitehart Lane. 

By one of those subtle collusions which are the despair of 
psychology the Boarders had made a truce with the Michaels, 
with. the object of crushing the Graders once for all. Bert Good- 
erich, purchasing comestibles for his mother at a shop on Jolly 
Butchers Hill, had met, and fought for six minutes, with the 
acknowledged leader of the hardy Whitehart Lane army. In 
the small ring immediately formed, several Michaels had cheered 
the Boarder. Bert, all his Grader blood boiling, and some of it 
streaming from his nose, had snatched up his net bag of provisions, 
and flinging a challenge to both schools to fight the Graders and 
get licked, had darted away before the odds grew too serious. 
This happened on the previous day. It took but a few hours for 
every responsible warrior in all three academies to learn of the 
fray and the gauge flung down by the Trinity Road hero, and the 
coming of the snow warned the Graders that a batde of Homeric 
dimensions would be fought before some of them had tea. 
• Leaving the kids to skirmish and smother each other with 
amateurish snowballs, Bert Gooderich and his lieutenants leaned 
against the railings in front of the sacred edifice and discussed 
the position. It was nothing to Bert that he himself could have 
gone home to Bounds Green without harm. The lieutenants 
lived Noel Park way, Homsey way, some even dwelt in White- 
hart Lane. Bert swung his blood-knot and matured his plans. 
There was no supineness about Bert now, no sni£5ng lack of 
interest. Bert was one of those lofty souls who do not read 
poems about battles, but fight them with a bloody joyousness that 
causes poets and suburban residents to appeal to the police. He 
was a great asset to tiie Graders, whose ranks were weakened by 
numerous middle-class boys, poor emasculated creatures who wore 
white collars continually ai^ who went away to the seaside in 
August. Instinctively they leaned on Bert, whose father was 
an engine-fitter at a big works in the City, and whose Augusts 
were spent fishing in Littler's Pond, bird-nesting out at Enfield, 



CASUALS OP THE SEA 7 

or roaming through Hadlej Wood. They leaned on hun now^ 
as he swung his blood-knot and matured his plan. 

''They're comin', Bert!" called out a lieutenant, peering 
through the snowflakes. Bert saw " them " plainly enough. He 
thrust his knot and his hands into his pockets^ hunched his 
shoulders and started to cross the common. The whole school 
moved forward, like an army, or a flock of sheep. (The reader 
can take his choice of metaphors.) When he arrived at the pipe- 
trench, Bert paused and spat. It was half choked with snow, 
its jagged e<^|^ and yawning depth were alike concealed and 
softly rounded in spotless purity. 

Bert spat into the trench. The lieutenants looked at the red- 
dish circle of his saliva with respect. They all knew Bert spat 
blood. It was one of those mystical attributes of greatness among 
boys. Many of them longed to spit blood like Bert. One boy 
who had had a tooth out in the dinner-hour, spat crimson and 
gained high prestige for a while, but such a means of attaining 
it was considered cheap, like cough mixture, which only made 
a brown stain. Bert's bronchial apparatus was adrift somewhere, 
as was proved when he retched phlegm for the edification of a 
new boy. It was his crowning distinction, his deathless claim to 
sovereignty over them. He spat blood. 

" 'Ere," he said to Winship, a lieutenant who wore trousers 
and who lived (slept, anyhow) in Whitehart Lane. " 'Ere, Art, 
you go 'ome, that's what you'd better do. Up past the Alms- 
'ouses." 

"W'y?" demanded Winship with suspicion. "See any 
green? " 

"Go on," said Bert, stooping majestically and forming the 
first real snowball of the fight with deftly-pressing fingers. 
" 'Ow do we know the Boarders ain't comin' down Trinity Road, 
jus' for a change like? I'm goin' acrost to mop up these Michaels. 
So 'urry, Arty, my love." 

Arty, Bert's love, threw up his head in enlightenment and 
strode off up the bank of the dyke towards the Trinity Road. 
What's up, Bert?" asked a lieutenant in glasses. 
Come on," said Bert, striding the Rubicon and making for 
the Michaels. "We got ter keep this side o' the 'ole — see? — 
tiU I teU yer." 

The Trinity Graders^ happily delivered of a number of the 



49 



8 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

aforesaid middle-class decadents who had " gone home " to their 
tea and home lessons^ and who would be virtuously and insuffer- 
ably learned on the morrow^ now advanced^ a cluster of black 
dots^ across the white counterpane of snow. Over against the 
red brick St. Michael's school-house^ the patrons of that saint 
were to be seen plainly, craven hearts whom fear of Bert kept 
from taking a glorious initiative. When Bert had spat into the 
trench^ they had retired from the east to the west side of their 
road. Now they were inside their yard^ round suspicious heads 
showing over the wall and a covey of excited^ oily-haired little 
choir-boys fluttering in the dim porch. The bigger lads were be- 
ginning to think that they had done unwisely in retreating. 
Choir practice was at half-past five> and Bert Gooderich cared 
neither for God nor man> neither night nor day, snow nor fine. 
Bert punched them furiously whenever he found them. Now they 
were in the yard their allies seemed far away^ choir practice was 
near. Bert and his Nonconformist hordes were nearer still. He 
might besiege Hkern till eight o'clock. Old Plantagenet, the 
organist^ would be wild. 

The lieutenants were all agog with delight. Already they 
were spotting the Michaels' porch with erratic snowballs; one 
downy little choir-boy had remained peeping through the bars of 
the gate^ when a hard and swift ball caught him in the teeth and 
he ran screaming into the panic-stricken porch. But Bert was 
not simply a boy out for a lark; he was a general playing a two- 
to-one game^ he was a tactician with a scheme to develop. Bert 
looked back across the common to see if Winship had gone through 
like a coward^ or was beng chased like a rabbit back to the fight. 
Snow no longer fell thickly; you could see the lamps of tiie Free- 
mason's Tavern twinkling away up Trinity Road. Somewhere 
up there the Boarders were mustering. Bert never miscalculated 
on the puny defence of the Michaels. He knew they had been 
in communication with the Boarders. A snowball struck him on 
the shoulder. He ignored it^ staring away towards Trinity Road. 
Where was the trousered Winship? 



II 

AT tibie northern apex of the triangular eommon^ erected^ 
with superb indifference to man's needs^ in the very 
centre of the highway^ was a granite obelisk^ from 
whose walls gushed drinking water except when the 
Berts of this world had plugged the pores with slate pencils. 
A sarcophagus with water inside it, and a Scripture text relating 
to thirst outside it^ stood near the obelisk. Two horsemen had 
reined in near this point as Bert passed those anxious moments 
watting for news of Winship. Police Inspector Everett was 
returned from his inspection of the Y Division. Colonel Corinth- 
Squires^ late 78rd Bengal Cavalry^ now of H. M. Science and Art 
Department^ was returned from his afternoon ride. They had 
met on the Bounds Green Road^ had cantered towards home 
through the snow^ and now^ like old campaigners^ allowed their 
beasts the smallest possible drink of water before going on to 
oats and chopped hay. The Colonel^ moreover^ had offered his 
silver brandy flask to the Inspector^ only to be declined^ for the 
latter drank whisky. 

'' I knew how it would be^ when we accepted the lowest tender 
for those pipes ! " said the Colonel^ looking across the common. 
" That trench has been ready for laying over a week now. Scan- 
dalous!*' 

" I heard/' said the Inspector^ disentangling his spur from his 
long blue coat — " I heard that Marsh and Lascelles propose to 
make a park of this patchy with raised shrubberies and asphalt 
paths and a bandstand." 

" Marsh and Lascelles will take jolly good care they don't pay 
for the shrubberies and paths and bandstand ! " snapped the Col- 
oneL " Now I would make it an athletic drill-ground for the 
two schools^ and what's more I'd set the ball rolling. See the 
force of the thing! A school each side^ with a drill shed^ parade 
ground, football field, and, later on, a swimming bath and gym- 
nasium on this comer. Make it a decent building, with a clock. 
These poor little beggars have to go by train to Homsey Road, 

dammit, to get a batih ! Scandalous ! " 

9 



10 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

''The place is a battlefield all the time now/' said the In- 
spector. " My men are always taking names and addresses." 

'' Names and addresses ! Look here^ my dear Everett^ why on 
earth can't the police leave 'em alone^ so long as they do tiieir 
fighting on the conunon? Hang it^ it's in the air^ this confomided 
repression. They complain of poor recruitings and I'm not sai« 
prised. I'm not a damn bit surprised! Yes^ we'll go along 
Trinity Road. The school and the Sunday-school and the keep- 
off-the-grass notices in the parks^ and the police! How can a 
youngster grow self-reliant and big in the chest if he's under lock 
and key all the time? You mark my words^ Everett^ it's a mis- 
taken policy. In the old days^ there were wigs on the green. 
And now^ dammit^ if a boy shies a stone he's up before me^ and 
I have to fine his parents ! " 

" You should live in the country. Colonel. Wood Green is a 
suburb: Y Division, you know ! " 

** That's a nice thing to say to me, Everett ! My grandfather 
had Chits Hill Place before Dick Ford organised you. I say, 
Everett, just wait a minute, will you? Do you notice anything 
about that mob of youngsters on the green ? " 

The Inspector, with great good humour, reined his steed beside 
the Colonel and looked abroad. 

" I'm much mistaken, Everett, if there isn't a young general in 
charge of these Higher Grade boys. Look now ! There's a sqnad 
keeping back those lads of Whitehart Lane, there's another squad 
taking the front of the attack on St. Michael's School, the main 
body are retreating in good order, and by gad ! they're covering a 
detachment of sappers in that pipe trench ! See the idea, Everett ? 
I wish I had my glasses ! " 

The Inspector said nothing, but smilingly watched the fight. 
The two horsemen might have been officers directing the engage- 
ment. The Colonel was excited. 

" Look now, Everett I The main body's retreated across the 
trench. The St. Michael's boys are going to rush it. There's 
always plenty of snow in a ditch. I remember that. They'll fall 
into the ambush. It's magnificent! And look at the left wing. 
They've swung round to support the squad in the Trinity Bead. 
Now look! They're in the trench, and by Jove, they've got it! 
No, no! The sappers are at 'em. Well, I'm blessed! It's a 
regularly-planned feint. See^ the St Michael's are on the run, 
fairly on the run. Down^ too, some of *enL And look at the main 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 11 

body. They're after 'em like a shot. No need of a left wing 
now. Sappers are always hot stuff in a tussle. The lad that's 
bossing this fij^t Is an embryo general. See how they're keeping 
the Whitebart Lane chaps from coming out into the open. I wish 
I had my glasses. It's as good as a play ! " 

" I'm afraid the play's over. Colonel. It's nearly dark." 

" Not a bit of it. These young rascals can see like cats. And 
their leader won't stop now. He'll smash up the St. Michael's and 
then wheel his whole force round and chase the Whitebart Lane 
boys to Kingdom Come. I'm going round Commerce Road and 
back to the Freemason's Tavern to see the rout." 

Putting their animals to a trot the two grey moustached men 
passed up the shop-lined Conunerce Road and emerged upon the 
High Road, where the trams now run towards Enfield. As they 
came up to the Trinity Road once more, they beheld what the Col- 
onel justly called the rout. Penned in between the private dwell- 
ings and die hi^ wall of the Almshouses, the Whitebart Lane boys 
were struggling with a furious onset from the whole army of 
Higher Graders. Sticks, stones, snowballs, weighted with flints, 
blood-knots, and fists were flying in all directions. Hoarse cries 
of derision and victory blent with the roar of the High Road. In 
the forefront of the battle, with bloody face and empurpled eyes, 
Bert Gooderich was hammering home the most famous victory of 
his life. His blood-knot was gone, his clothes were torn and 
wet, and his satchel was empty. But he was fighting like a 
demon. Incessantly he stopped and moulded a snowball from the 
blackened slush of the roadway, and with deadly aim he blinded 
the nearest enemy. Now and again he closed with some desperate 
Boarder, and struck again and again at the boy's chin until the 
battle separated them. 

It was an iminemorial custom of the belligerents to regard the 
publicity of the High Road as the Romans regarded the Danube. 
The barbarians of Whitebart Lane might retreat across it. By 
doing so they earned a respite of twenty-four hours and the mock- 
ery of a week. On this particular evening, as the Inspector and 
the Colonel turned away northward again, the Graders reached 
the last lamp-post of Trinity Road, and a policeman moved slowly 
across from the Freemason's Arms to quell the disturbance. Be* 
fore he was halfway across the barbarian ranks were broken and 
flying southward, and the Graders, flushed with triumph, retreated 
with back-turned faces and occasional gibes at the copper. Now 



12 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

indeed the* battle was ended^ overshadowed by darkness and 
the anger of the law. Wearily Bert Gooderich climbed the plinth 
of the granite obelisk and drank thirstily from the heavy copper 
cup. He had lost his exercise book. There would be trouble with 
old Piper in the morning. 

And there was the long^ lonely walk home. 

Such are the vicissitudes of greatness ! 



Ill 

THE Gooderich family^ of whom a good deal will be writ- 
ten in this book^ lived in Maple Road^ a thoroughfare 
more easily imagined than described. The High Road 
from Wood Green crossed the western end of it, giving 
the drivers of pantechnicons and drapery-vans a view of a short, 
broad, level avenue, with a church at one end of the north side, a 
church in the middle of the south side, six large houses and eight 
small villas. The eastern end of this road was shadowed by tall 
oaks, and tailed off into a quiet lane that wound interminably to- 
wards Tottenham. Thus it was that the Gooderich family, who 
rented the last but one of the small villas, and who had no pre- 
tensions to gentility, dwelt in a genteel thoroughfare, and their 
roof, in the morning, was darkened by the shadow of the ancestral 
oaks of Verulamium. 

Both ecclesiastical buildings in Maple Road were dissenting, but 
the Established Church, a dry, stand-offish ediiice, frowned from 
the other side of the High Road; the sexton lived at number eight 
(a small house), and the curate, unmarried and genial, at number 
four (a large house). Nothing ever broke the calm of this rural 
neighbourhood, save the Italian barrel-organ at seven o'clock on 
Saturday evening, and the fact that only six miles separated it 
from the mightiest city in the world, seemed a wild and incredible 
myth. 

The Gooderich family lived, with lapses for meals, in the 
back of the house, the front room being occupied by furniture. 
On Sunday mornings, for instance, there was a further lapse. 
Mrs. Gooderich would stand a little to one side of the front win- 
dow, one finger cautiously holding the edge of the curtain, and 
watch, as in a glass darkly, the Baptists going to chapel. This 
curiosity of Mrs. Gooderich was perfectly innocent. She was 
tliirty-four years of age and she had a great desire to look at other 
women's clothes. But the mention of church-going and clothes 
recalls the fact that the internal economy of the Gooderich family 
will be badly comprehended without an account of the early career 

13 



14 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

of Mrs. Gooderich. She was bom in Berkshire^ and her father 
was a farm labourer. Her five sisters^ one by one> went out to 
service^ and it would have been little less than a miracle if Mary 
had escaped the same fate. The miracle did not happen — no 
miracle had happened in Wantage since the Reformation — and 
Mary Higgs^ with her small figure^ small features^ small blue eyes^ 
and small wooden boz^ was put into the London train to go and 
make her fortune. 

Mary's firsts and last^ mistress was a stockbroker's wife at 
Homsey. There were no children^ not many visitors^ and not 
much to do^ for the stockbroker was only a junior partner at 
the time^ and he was obsessed by a vision of that famous land- 
scape^ " A Rainy Day." So Mary dressed herself in a black dress 
and white cap and apron every day at three o'clock and chat- 
tered with the servant next door through the trellis work that 
separated the gardens. The servant next door was a flaming 
blonde with four young men^ and she liked Mary from the first. 
The flaming blonde was a Hoxton girl^ and considered it her duty 
bound to start Mary in social life. The first Sunday out saw 
them in Finsbury Park. To a girl who had lived in Wantage all 
her life^ Finsbury Park^ with its vast lake^ colossal refreshment 
pavilion, broad avenues of stately trees^ and its hum of Life, 
was the Elysian Fields. Mary was introduced to a de^>-chested 
young man who took her for a row on the lake. Boating in Fins- 
bury Park is not the naval scrimmage one finds in Battersea Park. 
You rowed round and round until your sixpenny worth was up; 
you kept clear of other crafts and then stepped ashore to eat ices 
and meringues at little tables. You made due allowance for the 
fact that personal remarks travel a long way over water, and spoke 
low. It was like Maple Avenue, genteel. Mary enjoyed it for a 
month or two, and then the flaming blonde, who wore an engage- 
ment ring on these Sundays out, went to Finsbury Park alone, 
and the deep-chested young man took his airing on the lake in 
solitary state. Mary was indisposed, so her friend said, conceal- 
ing the whole truth, which was that Mary was indisposed to pro- 
ceed any further with the tedious business of a humdrum love- 
making. Mary Higgs was not built that way. The young man 
who delivered two Coburgs and a Hovis loaf daily at the stock- 
broker's back entrance was infinitely more amusing. He told 
Mary diverting stories, he gave her copies of the IlluttraUd Standi 
ard and the Mirror of Life, and be formed the habit of leaving 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 15 

bag9 of stale pastry^ which Mary consumed in the small room over 
the scnlleiy where she slept. And on the Sunday when she was 
indisposed^ as I have stated above^ she waited until the flaming 
blonde had boarded the old horse-tram in the High Road^ and 
then hastened away northwards towards Jolly Butchers Hill. 
The baker's cart^ divested of its trade-boards> a^ looking exactly 
like a neat gig^ was waiting for her at the top of the hill^ under 
the trees in front of the Fishmongers' Almshouses. This was 
much more to Mary's taste. They drove out past Winchmore 
Hill and Enfield^ and in tiie deep lanes that lead away to 
Waltham and Brozboume, the baker's young man made love in a 
manner manifestly impossible on the Finsbury Park lake. And 
then in the summer evening they drove across country to Potters 
Bar and halted at a public-house on the North Road. Here 
Mary had a glass of stout brought out to her as she sat in the 
trap^ and her swain lifted another cigar. 

This was a beginning of a new existence for Mary Higgs. 
I don't think she was very much in love with the man. He 
had a very taking manner with women^ and seemed to be able 
to take liberties Aat they would have resented in another. He 
earned good money as a journeyman^ being particularly clever 
at " smalls/' and if she considered the matter at all^ I suppose 
Mary would have decided that she was doing very well for herself. 
He was fascinated by Mary's petite figure, her dark hair and blue 
eyes, and the faint Berkshire accent of her speech. They were 
both slightly romantic. The fascination lasted for three months, 
and then the stockbroker's wife changed her baker. 

For the first few days Mary bore the absence of her lover 
in patience. Of course he could not come every day now that he 
had no reason for calling. One evening, while buying groceries, 
she walked past the shop where he worked, but the proprietor's 
wife was serving another servant with pastry and Mary did not 
care to go in. Sunday came and went, the flaming blonde 
went forth to walk out with her young man, and Mary was 
alone. She was quite at a loss until she formed the desire to 
find him. She scorned the idea of waiting about until he came 
by. That was not yet. She had no pangs because she had given 
way to him. She was merely at a loss. 

The week was long and tedious. On the Friday evening she 
had to run out hastily to get some sponge cakes for a late tea. 
Hie stodLbroker's nephew and nieces had come for a visit from 



16 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Twickenham. Mary went to the old shop and bought the cakes 
from a boy in an apron^ a smart well-brushed boy. 

"How's Mister Royce?'' she asked in the course of a light 
conversation. 

"Him? Oh, Vs gone." 

" Oh." Mary took the change — you get fourteen sponge cakes 
for one and a penny — and counted the five pennies. " Where's 
he gone to ? " 

" Gone to the Col'nies. 'Is brother's out there, yer see." 

" Really ! You do surprise me." 

He did. It was not the first time Mr. Royce's movements had 
provided a young woman with a surprise. Mary went swiftly 
home and thought the matter out while she made cocoa and lemon- 
ade for the nephews and nieces. She did not care, only — well, 
she didn't care so long as nothing happened. 

You can remain a long time in such a state of mind. You 
can get used to it, even. You can do your work, and read the 
newspaper, and talk to a flaming blonde about her approaching 
nuptials in a perfectly sane way. 

And when the Saturday dinner is over and done with, and you 
run upstairs to put yourself straight, you can even look into the 
glass at a flushed damp face and heaving bosom, and argue that 
the flush is due to the hot kitchen fire and the short breath to the 
hasty climb, not at all to the thoughts of the empty to-morrow. 
But it makes a change for all that. You will see a crease in the 
comers near your eyes, and your mouth is a little harder. 

Mary did not wait for the breaking point, however. After 
a fortnight of close-lipped suspense, she paid another visit to the 
smart well-brushed boy, and asked to see his mistress. The 
baker's wife, wide of features and slow of movement, emerged 
from the sitting-room at the back. 



** Mr. Royce," said Mary, " 'e used to be a friend o' mine. 
Could you tell me where a letter'll find 'im.^ " 

The baker's wife looked at the small figure of Mary as she 
ran her fingers to and fro on the curved glass of a Fry's choco- 
late showcase. 

*' Come in 'ere, my dear ! " she said, moving towards the back 
room, and Mary followed her. 

Women have great courage. Half an hour afterwards Mary 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 17 

came out smiling^ a piece of paper in the palm of her glove. She 
shook hands with the baker's wife^ who was remarking: 

"As I say^ I doubt if ifs any use^ but there it is." And 
Mary smiled and thanked her. She opened the shop door and 
the resonant ** ting " made her jump. 

" Let me know^ won't you ? '* said the baker's wife^ and again 
the girl smiled and thanked her. ' 

The next day was Sunday^ a hot September day^ and Mary 
lay down for a while before she dressed. Her hands and lips 
were dry^ and twice she interrupted her toilet to wash and to 
rinse her mouth. 

A street off the Caledonian Road was the object of her search. 
To the dwellers in outer North London^ the geography of inner 
North London is as perplexing as that of Jersey City or Genoa. 
One passes high over it all in the train: it consists principally^ 
as far as one can see^ of backyards and sky signs. Mary took the 
Seven Sisters Road tram to the Nag's Head. "You can walk 
from there^" the baker's wife had said. So you can^ on a cool 
day^ and if you know the way. But it was a blazing day. The 
bicycles lifted the white dust of the road into the quivering air^ 
and the sunlight reflected from the sidewalk made her eyes acne. 

A policeman helped her. " Third, fourth, fifth on the left ! " 
he told her, and she went on again. When she reached the road, 
Caroline Road, the number she wanted was a long way down. 
No. 261 Caroline Road, N. It was what they call a nice little 
'ouse. In North London, if you own a row of such, you will re- 
ceive more local homage, reverence, and fame, than an author, a 
cricketer, and a trick cyclist put together. Literature? Sport.'* 
They pass, evanescent; the houses stand. You have a stake in 
the country. You do not talk or act, you are. After you leave 
the saloon bar, men who know you by sight claim the friendship 
of your inmost soul. " Don't ask me 'ow many 'ouses 'e's got I " 
they say, in humorous condescension, to foreigners. 

No. 201 was owned by such a person. In fact, Mr. Royce 
Senior n^as the person and he lived at 261. Consequently, 
when Mary Higgs was ushered into his presence, he left his visitor 
to make the first move. He was sitting in the front room, a box 
of cigars and a bottle of whisky on the table at his side. When 
Mary said she was a friend of his son, he let it pass. When 
she went on to say that she understood his son had gone to the 



18 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Colonies^ be looked hard at her but let that pass too. But when 
she cornered bun by asking for his son's address^ he spoke. 

" Anythln' important? " be said^ blowing out smoke. 

" I'm three months gone/' she answered with rustic brevity^ 
" and I'd like to know when he's comin' back." 

The owner of twelve nice little 'ouses looked at Marj Higgs in 
shocked surprise. He had been against the idea of his youngest 
son going out to the Colonies. His idea had been to buy him a 
nice little business near by and set him up. His youngest son 
was inclined to fall in with this^ had in fact delayed his departure 
to discuss the matter. Mr. Royce Senior was rather sorry now 
that the young man had not gone after aU. Not that he had any 
objection to his son marrying a girl in service, for Mrs. Royce 
Senior had been a housemaid. But Mr. Royce Senior did not be- 
lieve Mary's story at alL He had lived in London for a great 
many years and he had a laige experience of the villainy of hu- 
man nature. It was one of his axioms that while men are liars, 
young women in trouble are greater liars still, that they will 
stick at nothing to fasten a claim upon some quite possibly inno- 
cent young man. He did not preach on this text save very 
rarely, in private, to his sons, but avoided such difficult themes, 
just as he avoided auctions and deaths in his nice little 'ouses. 
Moreover, Mr. Royce Senior had no opinion of a young woman 
who was fool enough to let a man have his own way. It stamped 
her as unfit to be a mistress of a nice little 'ouse. Mr. Royce 
Senior's devotion to the solidarity of his class was very deep, very 
sincere, very unconscious. He was as incapable of ratting as a 
Tory Duke. His eminence as a houseowner and landlord did 
not shake this loyalty to his humble class, it confirmed it. He 
was an embodied respectability, as his wife, now some years de- 
ceased, was a disembodied' respectability, whose funeral (at 
Abney Park) was as a second Anno Domini to many matrons in 
Caroline Road. And here was this embodied respectability con- 
fronted with a young woman who " tried a new game " by stating 
unmentionable facts directly and without loss of time; thinking 
to wring his withers by surprise, he imagined. Well, that was 
an improbable event, because Mr. Royce Senior was a business 
man, and he was just as much alive to the interests of his pocket 
and position on Sunday afternoon as he was on Monday morning.* 
So he turned the matter over in his mind, looking at Mary the 
while. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 19 

" I see 'ow it is^" he said at lengthy looking sererdj at his 
dgar. " What you'd better do is to let me move in the matter. 
Ill write to 'im, see? '£'11 listen to me. I'll 'ave to 'are 'is 
side o' the things too^ 'fore I can move in the matter. What's 
your address?" 

He reached out a fat hand to a roU-top desk at his back and 
took a piece of paper and a pencil. 

" Mary Higgs, * The Glen/ Eldersleigh Road, Homsey, N./' 
said Mary, and repeated it in overlapping instalments until Mr. 
Royce Senior had it all safely down. " Yes, H-I-G-G-S. Higgs. 
Double G. The Glen — that's the name o' the 'ouse — El-ders- 
leigh — L-E-I-G-H, Homsey." 

'* Yes. All right, I'll aUend to it. You see 'ow it is, I can't 
move in the matter — oh, quite so, I'm not saying that at all. 
Only nowadays, you know, must protect ourselves." He stood up 
and laid his cigar down. Mary stood up too. She felt unable 
to do anything else. Mr. Royce Senior followed her out into the 
narrow '* passidge " and held open the front door. He did not 
offer his hand, but he maintained the friendly prove-your-case- 
and-I'm-with-you tone in his voice. 

" Don't worry. Jus' leave it to me, see? " And he shut the 
door. 

" It's like this," he said sternly to his son about three hours 
later. " It's like this. Don't you reckon I'm going ter buy off 
young women for yer, because I ain't. I don't want ter know 
whether 'er story's true or not, 'cause I don't care. You're 
twenty-four an' your own master, not mine. If you want to go 
to the Colonies, you can go and I'll start yer. If you want to 
stop 'ere, stop, an' marry the girl, and don't look ter me." 

ThlB completes the Royce incident The briskness of Mr. 
Royce Junior, the masterly inactivity of Mr. Royce Senior^ to- 
gether with the successful prosecution of stockbroking by Mary's 
employer, render it unnecessary to detail life aS it is lived in 
Caroline Road. 



IV 

1D0 not know that Marj's mistress was a very unconven- 
tional person. In fact^ she was very like many young 
women I have met in suburban society. She was not very 
religious^ nor yet very giddy. As her family grew up, 
she formed the habit of going to church, because of the children ; 
she liked her husbands friends, and they liked her; she dressed 
nicely, and knew a good deal about her husband's money mat- 
ters, because she understood office work, having been in the City 
for a couple of years as a shorthand clerk. Indeed, like the 
young women above mentioned, she in no way resembled the 
stock figures of suburban fiction. I am obliged to emphasise 
this point, or the reader will imagine I am departing from the 
truth when I record that she " waited up " on that hot Sunday 
evening when her maid did not return as usual, at nine o'clock. 
She was reading a book in the drawing-room when she looked 
up and saw, through the bow-window, the figure of Mary Higgs 
coming hurriedly up the path to the front door. 

" Why, Mary ! Wherever have you been ? " 

" Oh, ma'am, I am sorry — please excuse me this once. I — 
I had a fit " ; and Mary dropped suddenly into the oak hall-chair 
while her mistress turned up the light. 

" A fit! What was the matter, the heat? " 

" Yes, ma'am. I felt all giddy like, and — and I fell down." 

" There, there ! Come into the dining-room." 

Mary, helped a little, for she was still faint, sank into a deep 
chair in the dining-room. Mary's mistress stood by the table and 
looked at her in perplexity. She wanted to call her husband, 
but hardly knew what to do. 

" What is it, Mary? You're strong enough as a rule. Tell me 
all about it?" 

And that is just what Mary did, with rustic brevity. There 
was a brief silence when she finished. 

I'll pack to-night, ma'am, an' go in the momin'," she said. 
There's no need to do that, Mary. Go to bed now. I'll tell 
you when to pack." 

That was all. Mary went to bed, much more light-hearted than 

20 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 21 

her mistress^ who bolted the front door^ and went upstairs to her 
husband^ who was smoking in the dressing-room. 

"Has that baggage come home at last^ Triz?" he growled^ 
yawning. " What's up ? You've been a deuce of a time ! " 

" Let's go to bed^ dear. I'll tell you afterwards." 

It is so much easier to tell intimate things in the dark. 

It is here that I must strain the reader's indulgence. That 
order to pack never came to Mary. The silent darkness^ the faint 
ticking of the clocks the cradled Miracle by the side of the big 
brass bedstead^ the success that was hovering over the business in 
Copthall Avenue, all these things tended to ease the telling of the 
tale to the husband. What he thought of it no one ever really 
knew. Perhaps he did not know himself. That miracle of his 
own was so recent, so barely detached from fairyland, that at 
least we may conclude that he did not take Mr. Royce Senior's 
view of the case. And yet he adopted that houseowner's masterly 
inactivity, leaving the matter to his wife, and going off to get the 
nine-fifteen next morning without a single reference to Mary. 

That young woman communicated, in a disjointed fashion, the 
details of her collapse on the blistered sidewalk of the Caledonian 
Road, the sudden giving way of her limbs, the hot dust impreg- 
nated with the smell of manure, the coming-to in the arms of a 
perspiring stranger, the administration of brandy from a near-by 
hostelry, the rest in a chemist's back room, the policeman all 
blue and silver, the curious small crowd. In Mary's mind, the 
anunonia-reek and the flashing buttons on the vast background of 
the constable's tunic, were the salient recurring features. Over 
and over again, as she lay on her bed, she felt the choking sensa- 
tion in her lungs and saw those buttons like corrugated moons in a 
blue universe confronting her aching eyes. It was missis' orders 
that she was to lie stilL A charwoman was making the best of it 
in the kitchen. Nor to worry, either, said missis. Later a doc- 
tor, if needful. Mary's eyes closed gradually. 

Towards evening she tottered downstairs and entered the 
drawing-room. Her mistress was sewing, rocking a cradle with 
her feet. 

"Please, ma'am, what'U you be doin' wi' me? I can't stay 
here. I can't indeed, after tiiis." 

" Yes, you can, Mary. I told you before that i would help 
you. What did you think of doing? " 

" Coin' 'ome to Wantage, ma'am." 



2t CASUALS OF THE SEA 



*' And be a burden to your mother ? That's f oduh, Yonll be 
all right to-morrow again." 

Maxy waf standing looking down at the cradle. The child's 
face and small arms were uncovered^ the hazel eyes were gaaing 
up at her^ smiling, smiling. It seemed to the sad, soiled servant- 
girl that the infinite mercy of high heaven was shinix^ in those 
clear, flawless little eyes. And she dropped on her knees and 
bent her head over them in a wild abandon of nnutterable 
emotion. 

And so Mary stayed on for another five months. The Spring 
was in the blue sky, and the tall lilac bush biased when her 
mistress said one day: 

" Get ready to go home^ Mary. There's a train at Padding- 
ton at ten-thirty to-morrow." 

It had all been explained before, and Mary miderstood that 
she was to go to her mother's for her lying-in. Mrs. Higgs 
had paid a dbort visit to ** The Glen '' and received certain in- 
structions. These things are regarded in a very human light by 
country folk. A trouble is a trouble, and the general idea, in the 
country, is to treat it as such, rather than to snatch the knotted 
cords from the hand of Crod and deal out murderous blows. Mary 
was the youngest child, and Mrs. Higgs took children as you take 
your breakfast, as a matter of course. There are quite a number 
of folk who lodL at it this way. 

I think Mary worshipped her mistress when, seeing the girl's 
dark . blue eyes strained towards the slumbering miracle, she 
nodded assent. Just one light touch of the lips on the diild's 
forehead, and Mary went out^ pale, downcast, and silent, and 
drove away in a rusty four-wheeler, a diminutive blob of blue 
cloak, black hat and veil in the comer of the vehicle, surmounted 
by a brown corded box. And then there was the journey by 
rail, and a silent old mother on the platform, concealing her emo- 
tion under a fictitious care of the corded box. And the walk, the 
progress up the long tiled path to the cottage set back from the 
road, into the old home. They had carried the corded box be- 
tween them from the station, and that was the last thing Mary 
did for herself for some time. 



IT was the easiest thing in the world for a snbdned and con* 
siderably changed Mary to stay on helping her mother and 
tending the baby. Instead of standing outside the Old Home 
in the snow (true^ it was summer-thro) and peering through 
the blinds at a tragic couple bathed in firelight and melodramatic 
grief^ which you may find^ frmn theatre posters^ is the correct 
thing for girls in trouble. Her baby showed no signs of violent 
evil as yet^ no scarlet letter biased on Mary's bosom^ and the 
Church embodied in an Oxford man who feared God much more 
than he feared hard work^ sent old magaxines to read and left 
things for Time to put right. Very gratefully Mary wrote a 
scrawly ungrammatical letter to the stockbroker's wif e> telling her 
she was well and going on nicely^ that the baby was a love, and 
that she would be very glad and thankful to come back again, 
if she mighty when she conld leave the baby. And God bless her 
for her many kindnesses and no more at present. 

It was in July, I think, that Fate, having been occupied with 
an earthquake in Siam, an insurrection in Lima, and a war in the 
Balkans, turned his attention once more to Mary Higgs. Mrs. 
Higgs had a friend living near by whose eldest son, as we have 
seen, was a fitter in a London shop. 

This son, having had his right arm broken and having acquired 
numerous contusions about the head, had been laid up for some 
time. More for lack of the opportunity, perhaps, than an3rthing 
else, the invalided mechanic had never married. A 8elf-<:on- 
tained, reliable sort of man, stiff of beard, incalculable of eye, he 
would stand at the green gate three gardens away, and smoke. 
Grotesque too, the pipe emerging from the bandages that covered 
the contusions, while the left hrad, white and nerveless, with the 
black dirt under the finger-nails showing like paint against the 
blanched flesh, peeped from the end of the square wooden box 
that enclosed his arm. The inevitable black scarf, changed to 
white on Sundays, supported this arrangement in a horizontal 

poaltion. Mary watched him every day for a week when she 

23 



24 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

picked lettuce in the long^ narrow garden^ or nursed her baby in 
the porch. And then^ on the day she wrote the letter to her 
mistress^ she passed him to reach the pillar-box that was built 
into the brickwork of the last cottage in the row. 

" Mornin'^ Mary Higgs/' he said^ nodding. 

Mary stopped^ startled^ looked to see if he were serious in 
his geniality^ and then replied^ quietly: 

" Good morning Mister 'Erbert." Then she went on^ dropping 
her letter into the box^ and returned. 

** 'Ope your arm's better. Mister 'Erbert." 

" Oh, slow an' sure, slow an' sure, Mary. 'Ow's yourself? " 

" Nicely thanks ; mustn't grumble." 

That was the gist of it for some weeks. Mister Herbert de- 
veloped a latent genius for tact. This is easier in the country, 
where words mean something, and everybody knows what you 
mean. For instance, on Sunday morning: 

" You ought to go, just t* show you're not unthankful ! " 

The church bell clanked in the distance, and Mary's face 
lighted up. 

"Oh, I'm not that. Mister 'Erbert! 'E's been that kind you 
couldn't believe." 

*' That's 'im. Never seems to see nothink. Same wi' me. 
Knows I 'ate to 'ave people jaw about me arm. 'E's what I call 
a Christian." 

" So do I." 

" Don't matter what it is, a broken arm or — or a broken 'art, 
eh? All the same to 'im. Good steel all through. No Yankee 
malleable in him." Mary nodded, and he went on, " That's why 
I say — you ought to go. I been twice." 

" I wiU then," said Mary. 

German science has doubtless full and sufficient theories to 
account for the novel ideas in Mr. Herbert Gooderich's head. 
Perhaps his tactful and philosophical nerve centres lay in his 
right brain, and the enforced use of his left hand and arm de- 
veloped them. Perhaps that is why so many right-handed folk 
are difficult to get on with while they have their health. Perhaps 
it is only nonsense, and the real reason was that a rather lonely, 
idle, middle-aged invalid found something attractive, something 
ineffably romantic, in Mary's plight. 

Mary, too, was in an unusual mood since her first word with 
Mr. Gooderich. She had begun to realise the worldly side of her 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 25 

positioiL Very gradoally it fonned itself in her mind. Towards 
the baker's young man in the Colonies she felt nothing save a 
▼agae dislike. She was quite useless, from the weekly news- 
paper's " betrayed-girl's-desperate-act " point of view. A certain 
refinement of soul made her feel that if she was unfit to be any 
man's wife, he was unfit to be any girl's husband, especially hers. 
His dominion over her vanished with himself. He was too brisk, 
he had too much surface and too little depth to hold her as long 
as that refinement streaked her nature. So she waited, wonder- 
ing, watching the girl-baby. 

Congratulations upon the abandonment of the square box from 
his arm marked a period in their acquaintance. The black silk 
scarf was still in use, but, with care, the arm was got into the 
coat-sleeve -* when he wore a coat. It was much pleasanter in 
shirt-sleeves, reading the rapturous and scholarly racing critiques 
in the Morning Leader, and smoking a colouring clay. 

" Back to the bench soon," he assured her. 

'* You'll be glad to, I expect," she answered. 

"Well, p'raps so, p'raps so. 'Ow's the young ' woman ? " 

To such a stage had they attained when Mary received an- 
other letter from her mistress. The stockbroker had done well, 
solidly well, for two years, and when people in North London do 
well, they move a little further North. You go up, you see, and 
moving is a small matter. To pantechnicon yourself across to 
Putney or Croydon is like going to Samoa or Venezuela, and the 
cost is terrifying. So the stockbroker's new address was North 
Finchley, where dear gas was set off by low rates. And Mary 
was asked if she wished to come back. There would be a cook as 
well, now, she learned. She was to let them know soon. 

" I 'spect I'll be off out of this, too, soon," she said meditatively, 
and Mr. Gooderfch leaned interestedly over his gate. 

" That 8oi Old shop? " he asked. 

" If I like. Dunno whether to — or not," she mused, moving a 
pebble with the toe of her boot. 

" Leave the young woman 'ere, I s'pose ? " 

" Oh, 'course I'd 'ave to do that. 'What I don't like about the 
business." 

"Awkward, ccrtingly. I been wonderin' you never thought 
of gettin' married." 

Mary Higgs deserted the pebble and looked Mr. Gooderich in 
the eye. 



M CASUALS OF THE SEA 

''It's not mj pUoe to think of anythin' o' the sort^ Mister 
*Efb€rt> and 70a know it" 

" 'Oir's that? I'm q>eakin' for meself^ o' course. What's to 
hinder?" 

" I'll Aank 700 not to mention % if jou don't mind." And 
Mary walked away towards her parents' house. But Mr. Good- 
erich opened the gate with his left hand and came after lier 
through the dusk. 

"Jus' listen to what I'ye got to say^ and then we'll know 
where we are^ Mary. Here's me^ sidL o' lodgin's and wantin' a 
place o' me own^ an' here's you^ as you are. I don't see nothing 
unreasonable iMUt it. I'm old enough to know what's good for 
me^ eh? Or p'raps tiiat's it^ too old. If it is^ say so; I'll think 
none the worse of you." 

As Mary stood by her gate^ swinging it to and fro and listen- 
ing to Mr. Gooderich's remarks^ a faint wail smote her ears. 

"There's baby!" she said, turning to him^ but Mr. Goode- 
rich's left hand held her arm. 

" There's baby^ as you say. I ain't forgettin' 'er^ my girl^ I 
ain't forgettin' 'er. Understand?" 

The faint wail rose and fell^ clucked and died^ rose again. 

Mary stood^ listening to the sound, looking at the serious, 
bearded, shirt-sleered man who still held her arm. Then he let 
her go without a word, his newly-found genius for tact reaching 
its consummation in the act 



VI 

SUCH were the pre-marital days of the small^ rather untidy 
woman getting tea in the kitchen sitting-room of No. 12 
Maple Avenae^ as Bert Gooderich returned from the great 
fight. The kitchen was the most important room in the 
house. Yon went round by the back way — that is^ you did not 
enter by Maple Avenue at all^ but you rounded the acute angled 
garden of No. 14 at the bottom of the road^ ascended its other 
side and^ lifting the latch in a door further up^ entered the bottom 
of your own badL garden. And Bert following this route^ his 
shoulders hunched^ his coat collar turned up^ and his hands deep 
in his pockets^ scuffled through the deep snow of the garden^ 
kicked his boots against the iron dust-bin and then entered the 
kitchen^ letting in^ moreover^ a gust of wind and snow. 

^ Oh^ so you are back then^ my lad>" said his mother. 

•* Can't yer see me?" 

" Been kept in, I s'pose? *' 

Bert responded with an incoherent growl about a bit of a lark 
and subsided into a slow picking of boot-lace knots by the fire. 
On the other side of the fire-place sat his elder sister Minnie, 
with his younger brother Hannibal. Minnie was a quiet girl of 
fourteen now, still without any evil bent, as far as her mother 
could see, but the manner in which she regarded her elder brother 
was peculiar. It was not malevolent, nor was it amiable. As 
her mother said once, Minnie " sized you up." She seemed to 
be forever sizing-up. It was a cool, balanced, calculating gaze. 
It made Bert furious at times. As far as it lay with children to 
do BO, they detested each other. Minnie seemed to be saying, 
*' And what may your superiority consist of? " She had it then 
even as she had it, more consciously and challengingly of course, in 
later years. I remember it as the most penetrating thing in 
the world, that look, when I think of her, her baby brother rest- 
ing between her knees as she sat in a low, old cane chair close 
to the coal cupboard, her forefinger chafing at the corner of that 
huge Grimm's Fairy Talei, and her eyes beneath the level brows 

bent towards the two dumpish boots on the steel fender, where 

27 



S8 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the balled snow was melting from the heels all over the bright 
metal. To be quite frank, that demeanour of Minnie's was a 
source of occasional discomfort to her mother. She was too 
quiet^ Mrs. Gooderich thought Tliere was no " mother dear " 
about Minnie. Later on she adopted the phrase^ but even then 
only in a sort of bantering sarcastic waj^ as when Mrs. Gooderich 
at Bamet Fair^ hearing another girl orge Minnie to come and 
dance^ said^ " I didn't know you could dance^ Miss^" and Afinnie^ 
moving away with her friend, twittered, " Lots o' things j^ou don't 
know, mother dear ! " over her shoulder^ leaving that Hannibal- 
hampered woman with an uneasy mind. 

House work^ too, was another trial between Minnie and her 
mother. Clever enough, even as a child, nothing perplexed her 
level brows, but tlie will was lacking. Beds cannot be half made. 
One must not deal flippantly with beds, nor should the slow ab- 
sorption ot At the Mercy of Tiberiui, interfere with the turning- 
out of rooms. The American woman who lived next door but one 
listened with patience to Mrs. Gooderich on this point. *' If she 
was my child, I'd turn her over my knee and give her a good 
spanking," she replied incisively, but even the un-English vul- 
garity of the suggestion failed to conceal from the artisan's wife 
the wild impracticableness of it You might as well talk of 
spanking the Empress of Russia, as Minnie Gooderich. She 
was like that, if you understand me ? 

At the Higher Grade Girls' School, where Minnie acquired 
the complicated erudition supplied by the London School Board 
and the Science and Art Department, there was never any trouble. 
She slid from standard to standard without noise or clamour, 
writing unexceptional essays in a beautiful variation of the verti- 
cal angular caligraphy prescribed for her by those authorities, 
making exquisite little coloured drawings of chemical experiments, 
doing simple equations in a manner quite void of offence. Miss 
Shelly, her teacher, had moments of rare exultation when she 
thought of Minnie Gooderich, mistaking that young person for 
one of her own simple equations, for Miss Shelly was dominated 
by the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, and had a glorious 
belief in human nature. Indeed, you cannot censure Miss Shelly, 
if you can picture to yourself the self-possessed Minnie at her 
desk, with the embryonic Hannibal at her side, her hair in one 
thick dark brown plait with an Oxford blue bow, the cream-col- 
oured brows bent to her tasks, her blotless immaculate tasks. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 29 

She never impressed you that she was "not like other girls." 
She had nothing in common with Elinor Challis^ the chemist's 
daughter, who fainted in July 9 won a scholarship in September^ 
and died of cardiac syncope in the following April. Nor did she 
remind you of Muriel Paston^ whose father sold linoleum^ cur- 
tains, and bankrupt stock in the High Road (old Paston^ who 
would go to prison rather than vaccinate his children). But 
Minnie's mother, at the time of which I am now writing, had come 
to the conclusion that she was, all the same, very unlike other 
girls. She had in her something imponderable and elusive, her 
quiet orderly advance through suburban childhood had in it some- 
tiling inexorably logical about it. Her devotion to little Hanni- 
bal was not devotion at all. Little Hannibal remained, in her 
charge, in a sort of soporific catalepsy, he was " a remarkably 
quiet child " with Minnie. To the gradually opening receptivity 
of little Hannibal, the figure of his sister was woven into the 
wood-cut kaleidoscope of Grimm's illustrations. She was a sort 
of fairy stepmother, who froze his soul with a look and taught 
him to say strange things. He had two other fairy stepmothers, 
Minnie's two friends, strong-limbed, freckled^ plumpish hoydens, 
who screamed with laughter when little Hanny repeated those 
strange things. 

Bert Gooderich did not regard her as a fairy at all. He 
knew, as he tugged off his sodden boots, that Minnie's homework 
was " done," done with that exasperating efficiency that you can- 
not struggle against. He knew also that his own would never be 
done. The smudged and crinkled copybook in which the work 
was set out, was lying quite probably in the slush of the trench 
on Trinity Green. The inevitable row with old Piper assumed 
appalling dimensions in his mind. He had always heretofore 
presented some sort of unintelligible riot of ink and paper in lieu 
of correct answers. No work at all necessitated explanations, 
and explanations invariably preceded hard caning and incarcera- 
tion. Old Piper's heart was tender and he loathed corporal 
punishment; but Bert's sullenly protesting taciturnity (the cor- 
relative of Minnie's self-possession) roused the primordial devil 
in old Piper, and he laid on, short sharp blows raining down pas- 
sionately upon the hunched burly shoulders. . . . 

And then old Piper, sweating a litUe about the temples, would 
try to resume the nineteenth century and the lesson. 

Such households as the Gooderichs drag along in a mysterious 



so CASUALS OF THE SEA 

fashion. It is useless to calculate two pounds a week as a bun* 
dred a year. When you pay your rent in shillings per week^ 
when you get your coal at one and threepence a hundredweight, 
and you buy your provisions on Saturday night, you must adopt 
a quite different arithmetic. You must pay expensively for every- 
thing. .Week after week the furniture people, the sewing-ma- 
chine people, the wringer people, the insurance people, the piano 
people, each take a little nibble from the thirty shillings left after 
the rent is paid. 

You buy " young Herbert " iron-shod boots to make them wear, 
and the oilcloth and stair-carpet are worn out before you have 
paid for tliem. You live on in North London because the rents 
are low and it is expensive to move, and you pay double for gas. 
You change back to oil lamps and start another little so-much-a- 
week to the hardware stores. You try to make a little by keeping 
a few chickiens and the neighbours complain to the landlord, who 
gives you notice. You let the front bedroom to a commission- 
agent, who disappears with three months' rent in arrears. And 
all the time it is work, work, work. You get into the way of 
^gg^gy too. 

It must not be supposed that Mrs. Gooderich was insensible 
of her good fortune. Quite unconscious of any irony, she was 
grateful that she should be permitted to slave in the ranks of re- 
spectable women instead of living a life of joyous venture among 
the unclassed. " What would have become of Minnie ? " she 
would think, not deeming it worth while to ask further, " What's 
becoming of Minnie anyway?'' 

For Mrs. Gooderich, like many driven mothers, imagined that, 
barring that incalculable element that made her child strange, 
she knew all about her. She ignored the long evenings when 
Minnie was out with her friends, she forgot the unchaperoned 
afternoons in Hadley Woods. The news that Minnie could 
dance is a sample of the awakening. 

And Miss Shelly was at a loss, and had an awakening. It 
was one day in the dinner-hour, when many girls would bring a 
packet of sandwiches and a cake in their satchel and eat it 
near the stove. In those days you had to come long distances 
to school in Wood Green, for the outer ramparts of London 
Education were then precariously upheld by small and desultory 
" academies " with fees and French, principals who took select 
boarders^ and assistants who took their departure without settling 



CASUALS OF THE SEA SI 

their laundry bills. And Miss Shelly^ who had lodgings at 
Stoke Newington, lunched at a confectioner's in the High Road 
and afterwards sat by the stove reading. She was a fluffy-haired 
little person^ very neat about the wrists and ankles^ and a relent- 
less self-educator. And she sat there^ her neat shoes up on the 
stove-raily reading Mary WoUstonecraft's Findication of the 
Rights of Women, while Minnie and her two friends sat near by 
on one of the fornis> giggling over the open eyes and mouth of 
little Hannibal. At least the other girls giggled. Minnie^ ever 
alert as to Miss Shelly's proximity^ bent over the child and whis- 
peredy then the two girls would bend nearer and Hannibal would 
be obliterated by three heads of hair. And then a throttled 
squeal^ a giggle^ a scuffle of feet^ perhaps a choke> with use of a 
handkerchief^ and Miss Shelly would look at the stove intro- 
spectively for a moment. What were those girls romping about? 
But it was little Hannibal himself who created drama out of 
their idle giggling. 



4€ 



Go/' remarked little Hannibal with agonising distinctness — 

Go to — *Elli " and Miss Shelly leapt to her feet as though she 
had been shot. One of the girls gave a convulsive whoop^ choked^ 
and there was a frightful silence. 

" Minnie Gooderich/' said Miss Shelly^ icily^ sitting down. 
** Come here to me." 

It would have given Bert considerable satisfaction to have 
seen his sister for the next twenty minutes^ for if ever Minnie 
felt uncomfortable, it was then. She really respected Miss Shelly^ 
and the knowledge that Miss Shelly no longer believed in her was 
humiliating. 

No brazening could stand against the young teacher's rigid 
indignation^ her awful horror of a girl who could deliberately 
teach her little brother to iwear. (To argue that little Hannibal 
woold swear anyway^ in a few years' time, would have been 
futile.) It was the sudden realising of the miry depths in 
Minnie Gooderich^ hitherto unsuspected, that appalled Miss 
Shelly. She was very pale and preoccupied during afternoon 
school, and sat for some time before a letter beginning: 

Dear Mrs. Gooderich, 

It is my painful duty to inform you • . • 

But she got no further. She knew enough of children to 



82 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

realise that Minnie would care but little for her mother's remarks. 
And eventually she tore the letter up. But the Good^ the Beauti- 
ful, and the True had received a shattering blow. If only Min- 
nie had seemed to care at all! She had been merely apologetic, 
the cool cream of her rather sallow face had coloured slightly, 
and her chin had gone out and up instead of sinking on her breast 
when she said she was " very sorry." 

As spring advanced the Science and Art Department advanced 
too, and prostrated the unfortunate teachers in London Board 
Schools with a Botany Syllabus. Where possible, Seventh Stand- 
ard girls were to attend on certain afternoons at the Boys' School, 
for Elementary Botany. Bert Gooderich received the informa- 
tion impassively because he had never heard of the thing before, 
but he did sit up in a species of astonished bashfulness when he 
beheld about a dozen big girls, with Minnie among them, file into 
the room one afternoon in April and take their seats, with much 
arranging of skirts and adjustment of elbows, on some vacant 
forms. And little Hannibal was with them, the most astonished 
of them all. 

" The 'ole bloomin' fam'ly ! " said Bert to his neighbour. " If 
my mother comes . . . lummy ! " 



VII 

LITTLE Hannibal was growings but I think this Botany 
Class was one of the most vivid pictures of his early 
childhood, the picture that detached itself most com- 
pletely from the dull-grey haze of domestic memories. I 
want you to imagine that rather diminutive child of seven, buried 
away among those strong-limbed, hoydenish girls, peering out 
sideways at the boys over the gangway, and staring at the old 
man who made curious drawings on the blackboard with coloured 
chalks. His impressions of the boys were shadowy. There were 
80 many of them, all in rows along the desks, each with a short- 
hand notebook, taking notes of what the man said. He watched 
Minnie's operations with interest for a time, when he discovered 
the walls of the schoolroom. They were wonderful walls to 
Hannibal. There were vast shining charts of fierce lions and 
tigers, coiling serpents, and amorphous creatures with satirical 
names like omithorhynchus and armadillo. There was a full- 
length figure of a dusky person with a spear, a turban on his head, 
and (apparently) another turban round his waist. A mild-look- 
ing steam-engine, in blue and yellow, occupied another chart, but 
Hannibal hardly noticed it. He gazed with a peculiar delight 
upon the Tonic-Sol-Fa chart. He could find endless satisfaction 
in outline. Even his mother's stunted intelligence had observed 
this trait in little Hanny. He loved the feel of a smooth square 
card-board box, and the stark black letters of the vocal scale at- 
tracted him in the same way. How fat and black they were! 
And you could read them any way; up or down, to and fro, it 
was all the same. The fettering sequence of C-A-T and D-O-G 
became fatiguing, Hannibal found. And then he twisted his head 
a little more and looked over the boys' heads, and saw the largest 
and newest and shiniest chart of all. 

It was a diagram, in all the splendour of Oriental colouring, 
of the Ideal Plant. There was a wonderful grey root straying 
symmetrically into the most permeable brown earth, vith a 

straight tapering stem soaring to a heaven of varnished roller 

S3 



84 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

at the top. Arranged in a rigid helical progression were branches 
of broad green leaves^ branches of narrow brown leaves, branches 
of oddly-shaped leaves^ until at the very top of the stem was a 
most miraculous flower^ with a complete green calyx, a complete 
red corona and exemplary pistil and stamens of gorgeous yel- 
low. It was an amazing production, that Ideal Plant. It made 
you feel keenly what a botched^ un-science-and-art-like job the 
Creator had made of his Flora anyway, with nobody to show him 
how. But it did not make Hannibal feel that way, because he 
knew very little about either God or Botany. He revelled in the 
clean hard outlines, the flawless symmetry, of that Ideal Plant, 
and rejoiced very frankly in the black lettering. For each part 
of this plant was stabbed to the heart with a black arrow, and 
each arrow was labelled with the name of that particular part. 

He listened at times to the old bearded man with the shiny 
forehead. In later years Hannibal always associated shiny var- 
nished surfaces with Botany. As the old man raised his arm 
to draw on the board, his coat sleeve fell back and the light 
glistened on his shiny cuff. And the desks where the girls sat 
were of richly marked pitcl|-pine, heavily varnished. And Min- 
nie's new text-book shone, glazed and tooled till the tyea ached 
as they rested on it. Elementary Botany. What garlands and 
chains of letters there were in this great room ! 

It was a rich and splendid spring day, and the amber-col- 
oured blinds were drawn over the tall windows as the sun swung 
round and looked in. And spring was busy in the schoolroom: 
seeds fell into the soft rich soil of boy and girl hearts, and small 
ideal plants were beginning to grow here and there, while the 
old bearded man with the polished forehead talked, and drew 
on the board. 

Bert Gooderich sat next to Flying Machine Brown in the 
back row, unutterably bored by this new onslaught of South Ken- 
sington. At the back of his mind lay a. vague hatred of that 
invisible but relentless tormentor. In some cases the perpetual 
disturbance of the curriculum was beneficial. It aroused the teach- 
ers, maddened them to heroic efforts of brain-culture, drove some 
of them into journalism and private schools, some of them to mar* 
riage and emigration. Often, too, it awakened long dormant in- 
telligences among the boys and girls. Lads who had droned 
through Euclid and Scale-drawing blazed into activity when old 
Piper began German; others astonished him by an undreamt-of 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S5 

deremess at Electricity and Magnetism. It was curious to watch 
the amazement dawning in the mind of a boy who had outstripped 
the others in Shorthand^ as he watched some stenographic failure 
leaping into fame in model-drawing or chemistry. But Bert 
Gooderich and Flying Machine Brown sat at the back of it all^ 
blank deterrent failures^ drags on the wheel, without hope or am- 
bition. Even old Piper, with his marvellous intuition of the 
child-soul, flogged them and broke up the silly little bits of mech- 
anism that poor Brown secreted in his desk. Brown would sit 
silent for the rest of the day, and then slip off home and become 
another being altogether. As long as he could see he would file 
and tinker and drill, making some other purposeless ill-finished 
contrivance, hampered by lack of tools and material and, most of 
all, knowledge. And on Saturdays, he and Bert would walk far 
away to the Seven Sisters Road, where there was a model-engine 
shop, and Brown would sigh as he stared at the beautiful little 
engines, all gleaming brass and copper, for they were so ex- 
pensive. And then he would get " an idea," " a patent " they 
called it, and for a week he would dream and tinker, tinker and 
dream, and old Piper would lay on with that thin angry cane of 
his. But it was never any use. Nothing could cdnvince Brown 
that Botany and model drawing and German were more impor- 
tant to a lad who was to become an oil-shop errand-boy than 
tinkering and dreaming of flying machines and Jules Verne sub- 
marines. And afterwards, when I saw him trudging patiently 
aIoi|g Mayes Road or Maple Avenue with a basket of soap and 
candles, and a can of paraffin, his blue apron smeared with oil 
and powdered with drysaltery, I used to think that Flying Ma- 
chine Brown was right. 

GraduaUy, as the quiet hum of the school and the amber light 
lulled his senses, little Hannibal leaned his head against Ethel 
James's shoulder and fell asleep. 



VIII 

BERT GOODERICH'S great day came when he least ex- 
pected it^ came when he had resigned himself to his in- 
evitable black ignominy on examination days. Colonel 
Corinth-Squires^ with his fierce grey moustache and gold- 
rimmed glasses^ was examining the school. I am at a loss to ex- 
plain why a retired military gentleman should be deputed to pro- 
nounce upon a school-teacher's efficiency; but there he was^ and 
there, for all I know, he may be still. Even Flying Machine 
Brown came away with fugitive honours in spelling. He was 
the only one who made anything out of " misled " that was not 
palpably wrong, and stimulated by such unimagined erudition, he 
put up his hand when Alder, the clever boy in the front desk 
Vho collected the books and was considered a rank favourite, 
failed with "ecstasy." The Senior Assistant Teacher was 
frankly amazed that Brown, alone of all his class, should be able 
to spell " ecstasy." Brown himself was a little dazed by his own 
luck. But perhaps Flying Machine Brown knew more about 
ecstasy than the Senior Assistant Teacher. He had more of it in 
his life, anyhow. 

But Bert Gooderich looked on at his friend's triumphant prog- 
ress in consternation. Brown was playing him false. Brown 
had never shown any learning in class before. He was mak- 
ing up his mind to " have it out " with Brown afterwards, when 
he heard the Colonel asking each boy what he would like to be. 
Now this was a question Bert could answer with a rapidity and 
conviction unusual even in clever boys. No one had ever asked 
him this question before, and he sat tense and tingling all over as 
he listened to the answers. Alas ! the boys in the clever phalanx 
were not satisfactory in their ideas. Most of them did not know 
what they wanted to be. One of them, in despair, decided tliat 
the question was not fair, they had never been taught any an- 
swer to it. Now and again came a definite call. Macpherson, 
who had been under an operation early in life, wanted to be a 

doctor; Harvey, whose parents kept a sweet-shop in the Finsbury 

36 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 87 

Road, was going to be a barrister; and Hillier, who could draw, 
Toted for architecture. But these were only the few sparks of 
ambition flying up from a general smoky mass of uncertainty. 
Flying Machine Brown brought an almost unbearable amount of 
notice upon himself, for every one turned round and looked at 
him as though they had never seen him before, when he said, 
" Ingineer, sir," and the Senior Assistant Teacher smiled cruelly 
and grimly. And then it was Bert's turn, and everybody, having 
turned round to look at Brown, remained so, looking at Bert. 
But Bert saw only the Colonel, and when the keen eyes behind 
the gold-rimmed glasses fixed on him, something inside him made 
Bert stand up stiffly, his chin up and his shoulders pressed down 
and back. ''Soldier, sir/' said Bert Gooderich, and waited, 
trembling, for the end of the world. 

But there was no roar of derision. The Senior Assistant 
Teacher looked curiously at the little tableau, the fierce old 
martinet looking straight into the soul of the unkempt lout at 
the back of the class. He felt as if this was not his business. 
It suddenly occurred to him that the Colonel was a soldier. 
He had never realised it before. 

** And by heavens you shall be ! " shouted the old Colonel, 
staring at Bert's rigid figure and obstinate face. And to hide 
his emotion he turned to the papers on the teacher's desk. 

The examination was over, and Bert Gooderich went home in a 
trance. 



IX 

THE usual sadden emergence into young womanhood hap- 
pened when Minnie was seventeen, and ahnost imme- 
diately afterwards she had a young man. " Boys " 
ceased to curvette on cycles about the end of the Maple 
Avenue, and Minnie herself no longer held court at the back 
entrance in Wood Lane. The lengthening of the dresses to 
within nine inches of her shoes, the acquisition of a Japanese 
silk blouse, and the abandonment of a plait for a Langtry coiffure 
made Minnie impossible to " boys." For two years she had been 
working as a " retoucher '* in the big photo factory up the hill 
by the " Cimitry " and had learned all there was to know about 
the positive side of life. Her plain-spoken comments paralysed 
her mother, who occasionally weighed her daughter's soul against 
the twelve shillings a week paid for retouching. But the latter 
won as a rule. Minnie was quite able to take care of herself. 
Her temperament was " difficult," and the casual pliilanderers 
who worked at the factory could make nothing of her. One 
young man who followed her home after dark appeared next day 
with a piece of plaster on his cheek, and proved very reticent 
about the adventure. This was Minnie's own fault, for she 
chose her girl-friends among those whose reputations were con- 
tinually under discussion at the chloride troughs, and who were 
never seen at the corrugated mission near the railway. The 
philanderers felt the baulk keenly because they were fastidiously 
careful to leave respectable girls in peace. Many of them were 
married men, with girls like Minnie of their own. 

But the advent of the young man put an end to all this, and 
Mrs. Gooderich sang a Nunc Dimittis in her heart. After all 
her anxiety — for she had been anxious about her love-child all 
her life — Minnie was going to be a nice, respectable, refined 
young woman. The young man was stooping, Mrs. Gooderich 
thought, for he was a coal agent's clerk, and dwelt daily in a 
small office near the station, an office with a mahogany truck 

full of best household in the window. He was a f attish, serious- 

38 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 89 

looking joung man, careful, neat, church-going, insured. Minnie 
was lucky. So many girls, etc. 

Minnie was calm as ever at this time. The favour of the 
young man's acquaintance was won tritely enough. For a short 
time he had been an inmate of that spare bedroom, and Minnie 
sometimes made his tea. It was not good tea, and I take it as 
a sign of infatuation that the tea, as made by Minnie, did not 
drive him to the world again. But when he had taken her for 
seyeral walks, and had returned from one of those walka with 
an understanding, the innate delicacy of the coal agent's clerk 
prompted him to seek lodgings elsewhere. It would look better, 
it was agreed. The stigma attached to " lodgers " in the suburbs 
was intolerable to a serious young man. And then came the 
ring. 

Minnie was pleased with the ring. She had a number of 
spurious ornaments, the usual trash that young girls carry on 
their wrists and neck and fingers, but this was a thing of price, 
four pounds ten. He had kissed her when he had slipped it on, 
on the teak seat that used to snuggle against the old red wall 
opposite the Cherry Tree Inn, and Minnie submitted. I do 
not know if it will explain anything of Minnie's character to 
the reader, but to me it is significant that kissing was abhorrent 
to her. And since serious young men with small bank accounts 
think kissing is indispensable and proper and delightful, this 
diffidence on Minnie's part was a source of microscopic estrange- 
mients, though nothing else could have held him so effectually 
in her toils. " Your breath does smell ! " she had remarked 
once, with terrible calmness, and he had been stricken to a red, 
angry silence. He was not an imaginative man, and he was 
quite incompetent to deal with a girl like Minnie. He did not 
realise that a fancy waistcoat and a well-groomed head of hair 
are almost negligible factors in the great game, that a young 
woman is a human being with all five senses cruelly alive. 

Another rock on which everything was almost wrecked was 
his dislike of her emplo3anent. He wanted her to chuck the 
photo factory, " since she was engaged," and Minnie's eyes opened 
wide with astonishment. "Why, if you please?" she asked 
with icy politeness. And he had mumbled something about " the 
fellers up there." Mrs. Gooderich, too, incautiously seconded 
this motion, and Minnie explained that her intention was to re- 
main in the photo factory as long as she pleased; if they didn't 



40 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

like it^ they could lump it, so there ! And the scheme fell through. 

Sometimes the young man wondered, in his new lodgings, if 
he were not brewing trouble for himself, Minnie was so tem- 
peramentally different, and he would think, " Never mind, when 
we're married, she'll settle down and be a good little wifie." 

Bert Gooderich, earning liis living at the local furniture em- 
porium, lived his life very much apart from his sister. He was 
surprised enough when she got a young man, it is true, but his 
mind was taken up with other matters. He was going into the 
Army very soon, and you cannot expect a young man to take 
much interest in his sister's affairs. Apart from a detached, 
sarcastic attitude, assumed only at home towards the young coal- 
agent's clerk, they entered not at all into Bert's cosmos. Bert 
offered him " a fag " once, when he came to supper, but the young 
man did not smoke, which was another trait that Minnie made 
into a painful deficiency of manhood. 

" Don't smoke ! " echoed Bert, from the middle of a dense 
cloud of Wild Woodbine. " Wliy, you ain't bom yet, then. You 
don't know you're alive, mate." 

"You be quiet, Bert," said Minnie; "you'd be better with 
less of it." 

'• Oh ! What about you, young Min, eh? " 

The young man looked at Bert with a sudden suspicion. 
Mind your own business," said Minnie. 
Ditto, ditto, ol' sport," replied her brother, and dismissed 
the matter from his mind. 

But the young man could not so dismiss it. He had that 
horror of girls smoking that goes with his environment. He 
was like that. The only women he had ever known to smoke 
were the decolletSe adventuresses in novels. The suspicion that 
Minnie might smoke in secret was torture to him. And he mused 
wretchedly, as he walked homeward, what might she not do.^ 
What did he know of her whose waist he held nightly on the 
seats distributed about the lanes of Southgate, whose demure 
eyes looked him over and sized him up with such relentiess com- 
posure ? 

" You're not treatin' me fairly, darling," he fretted the next 
evening. " Wliy don't you be straight about it? " 

" Oh well ! " she squirmed, and moved a little away from 
him. They were standing on a wooded footbridge that crossed 



<« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 41 

a wide shallow stream. A brougham came down the lane, the 
two brown horses lifting their feet delicately and throwing 
fantastic shadows on the high bank at the side. Within they saw 
a man and a woman, beautifully dressed, bound for the big 
house behind the pond up the hill. As the carriage rolled slowly 
through the water the woman leaned towards the open window 
and saw them standing side by side, and smiled. And Minnie 
grew angry, and watched the carriage glide up the lane, glide 
out of sight, leaving them alone again. 

** I think it's my right," the young man insisted. 

"Is it?" 

" To be straight, yes. Of course, if you're sick of it — '* 

" I didn't say I was. Only, if you will nag so " 

"Who's naggin'? I'm straight with you, aren't If Nobody 
can say I'm not patient and all that." 

Minnie was thinking of the brougham and the girl who leaned 
oat and smiled. Why could not she have luck like that? To 
be poor, and slave, like her mother, to be for ever darning and 
cleaning and living close! She had not smoked a cigarette for 
years. Even when she had done so, it had only been the school- 
girl's dare-devil desire to see what it was like. If the wretched 
young man would only leave her alone, she would possibly never 
have touched them again. 

" Well, it's no use goin' on like this," he said in a low voice 
as tbey stood at the gate in Maple Avenue. A clear, full moon 
flooded the road and threw sharp black shadows of the trees 
on the roadway. Across the way, in the big house at the comer, 
they could see the family at supper behind the great plate-glass 
windows. They could see the beautiful room hung with en- 
gravings, the soft pink shades of the candles on the table 
illununated the scene, the heads bent over the food, the swift 
skilful servants moving round, the tall clock in the comer with 
its slow-moving pendulum of gold. The gate of No. 12 creaked 
a little as Minnie moved it to and fro. 

I must have an understanding," he added firmly. 
Must you?" she said sharply, turning to him so 
that be quailed. "Well, let's go indoors and you shall have 

it" 

" Minnie ! " he said appealingly, but she walked up the little 
tiled path, ignoring him, and he followed. 






49 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Her mother sat at the table in the front room^ sewing by 
the light of a smelling oil-lamp. Marj Gooderich had changed 
greatly in the course of eighteen years. 

** Sit down, dear. I'll get supper in a minute." She looked 
up and saw Minnie's face. 

"What's the matter?" she asked. 

Bert lounged in from the kitchen^ smoking, and sank down 
on the sofa. 

" The matter is I'm not goin' to be nagged at all my life, 
mother, and so I tell you." 

"I've not nagged, Mrs. Gooderich. I've only asked her a 
plain question and she won't answer it. Nobody belongin' to 
me is goin' to smoke, that's all I can say." 

The young man paused for breath. His rather plump features 
were drawn with conflicting emotions, his satin tie was rucking 
up over his collar, and his hands fumbled with the edge of the 
worn red baize tablecloth. 

"What's up — lovers' tiffs?" queried the recumbent Bert in 
amusement. Minnie blazed at him. 

"You be quiet! And nobody's goin' to nag, nag, nag for 
ever and ever at me, that's all I can say," she snarled at her 
lover. " You get somebody as likes it. I don't." And taking 
off her ring, she tossed it to the middle of the table. 

The young man held to the edge of the table and watched 
the ring circle about and fall to rest, the tiny stones glinting 
in the lamp-light. Bert's cigarette stuck to his upper lip as he 
opened his mouth in his astonishment. 

" What d'you mean ? " said the young man in a cold, lifeless 
voice. 

" There's your ring, that's what I mean." 

" I've not deserved this," he answered dully. 

"There's your ring, and don't have so much to say, next 
time." 

There was a brief silence that seemed centuries long. And 
then the young man slowly picked up the ring, and went slowly 
out of the house. As the door closed behind him, Bert struck 
a match, a crackling tearing sound that finished with a hiss and 
a spurt of flame. 

You've done it now, young Min," he observed critically* 
Done what? " she turned on him hotly. 



1 

^4 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 45 

"Why, strangled yourself." He drew at the cigarette for a 
moment. " I'd 'a' thought you'd 'a' had more sense. Fellers 
ain't so easy got." And he lounged away, leaving mother and 
daughter alone. 



THAT act of very deliberate and unnecessary cmelty by 
which Minnie Gooderich freed herself from the tram- 
mels of betrothal would have been impossible but for 
her economic independence. Minnie was a girl with a 
hyper-sensitive brain and atrophied affections. As a schoolgirl 
she had had her chums like Ethel Turner, but now Ethel Turner 
couldn't bear her. Minnie bore this with fortitude, again be- 
cause of her economic independence. If you are earning twelve 
shillings a week in a station of life where you can live on ten, 
your attitude towards the world of Ethel Turners will be mildly 
superior. '^ It is extraordinary how many emotional storms one/ 
may weather in safety if one is ballasted with ever so little gold.] 
Mrs. Gooderich, who knew well enough why her daughter's chin 
was held so h^^h during supper that Friday night, spoke her 
mind. 

" You wouldn't be so free with that tongue of yours, miss, if 
you had to keep yourself away from home." 

'* I'd like to be on my own. I'd manage some'ow," she mut- 
tered. 

"Would you? You're welcome to try. You'd soon find a 
man's arm useful." 

"Oh, mother, don't! Can't you let me alone? I don't want 
a man's arm. I want peace." 

Mrs. Gooderich was silent until Bert took himself off, yawn- 
ing, to bed. Then she went round to her daughter's side and 
put her arm round her. She did not speak, only leaned forward 
and strove to search the girl's eyes. Ineffable maternal solici- 
tude ! Her arm tightened round the small waist Minnie looked 
up from her plate. 

" Wliat, mother? " she asked uneasily. 

" Child, I'm not goin' to blame you, as you ought to be blamed 

for hurtin' a man as loves you true. I'll leave that to your own 

thoughts. What I do say to you is, don't think as your mother 

don't know 'ow you feel. Look at me, Minnie. No, you're not 

44 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 45 

your mother over again. I know that well enough. I used to 
wonder, when you were a little thing, what you'd be like when 
you grew up. I 'ardly dared think, sometimes. I've seen how 
restless you've been, and I hoped bein' engaged 'ud settle your 
mind. You 'urt him, my child. I'll tell you 'ow I know, because 
you 'urt me often. Minnie, I've wondered sometimes, if you only 
knew 'ow near I've been to wishin' I'd never give you birth, or 
if you'd ever understand 'ow near to screamin' I've been for you 
to put your arms round my neck an' tell me — tell me jus' little 
secrets." 

The mother paused, looking intently into her daughter's face. 
At length she wliispered: 

"Child, I'm af eared for you. You 'ave no weakness!" 

With unerring precision the mother's instinct had found the 
trouble and voiced it with blundering poignancy. But the child's 
face was like iron. 

" Minnie, didn't you, don't you love that man? " 

" I don't tliink I did, mother. It was all a mistake." 

" I can't believe it of you. And yet, I dunno. There, go 
to bed, chad. We'll be sittin' here all night." 

It was about an hour later that she went upstairs with the 
small lamp that hung in the passage, and shading the flame 
with her hand, threw a monstrous shadow on the wall of her 
daughter's room. Then, standing by the bedside, she let the 
light fall on the girl's face. 

"Yes, mother?" 

Minnie lay on her back, one hand behind her head, the fingers 
entwined in the dark liair spread over the pillow. Her breast 
rose and fell gently like a ship at anchor in some quiet harbour. 
And her dark eyes, darker than ever in the sudden light, were 
wide open and fixed on her mother. 

Mrs. Gooderich set the lamp down on the chest of drawers 
and sighed. 

" Child," slie said, " haven't you anything to tell your mother? " 

Minnie was silent, looking at the ceiling. 

" You can't think," her mother went on in a whisper, " what 
It means to me to have not a soul to say a word to. Don't you 
ever think, Minnie, what you are to your mother ? " 

" I don't see what that has to do with it," said Minnie, shifting 
mieasOy. 

With what? With what yon did to-night? It's the same 



«• 



<« * 



46 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

thing, my child. Yon 'urt 'im same as you 'urt me, 'cause you're 
that 'ard." 

" It's no use talkin', mother. I can't help what you say, I 
didn't mean to hurt you. I didn't know I did hurt you, just 
because I'm — peculiar, I suppose you'd call it; only it don't 
seem very peculiar to me not to be silly. That's all." 

When Minnie had been small and little Hannibal just bom, 
there had grown up in the vague hinterland of their mother's 
mind a picture of herself in later years, surrounded by her 
children as by a wall, protecting her in her decay. That pic- 
ture had slowly faded. The last flickering outline disappeared 
as she stood with locked fingers looking down at her daughter. 
The time generally comes when a mother can see a dim but 
true outline of the future. But she gains the power to see this 
at the expense of the power to alter it Mary Gooderich, loddng 
down at her daughter, felt bitterly the futility of her life. 

Slowly she took up the lamp and went to her own bedroom. 

Ard," she muttered, " as iron. She'll go wrong. I can't stop 
'er now. She's too quiet If she*d only cry! Dear, dear! I 
can't remember when she did cry." 

For some little while after her mother left her, Minnie lay 
awake in the dark, watching the square of moonlight degenerat- 
ing into a more and more slip^shod rhomboid on the wall. At 
times she could feel the bed quiver slightly as a heavy night 
goods train thundered over the Great Northern Railway a mile 
away. She had always felt that infinitesimal flutter of the earth 
beneath her body as she lay in her bed. At length she slept, 
smiling a little. The curtain moved gently to and fro between the 
bed-head and the window like a ghostly wing. 

The next morning was Saturday, and Minnie joined another 
girl on the way to the photo factory. The other girl was in 
the office. She was trembling with a piece of *' news." 

" Do you know," she said, as Minnie swung into line with 
her. " The shop's sold ! " 

" Gracious ! Sold up. Ivy ? " 

" No, to an American firm. They've got a patent process. 
Do you know what they mean by Tetratint work? " 

" I've heard of it, seen advertisements of it, that is. They 
roll them off, you see, instead of givin' them to us to run over. 
I thought it was a machine, though.' 



>» 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 47 

"So it is. That's why I asked. They've got advice notes 
that they've been consigned. The Tetratint Corporation of New 
York^ Boston, Philadelphia, etc. They seem a very big concern. 
They may give us all a rise," she tittered. 

" I don't think," said lifinnie sardonically. " More likely give 
ns retouchers the sack." 

There was no more said at the time, and they parted at the 
door of the works, Minnie to her easel, the other girl to her 
desk. A man in grey striped flannels, a pot-bellied man with a 
red clean-shaven face and red hair, was in evidence at intervals. 
Before the morning was half throu^^ it was distinctly imder- 
stood that this man was not asking questions bat giving orders. 
He would stand, hands in pockets, paunch protuberant, an 
enigmatic figure in the doorway. Girls seemed as though 
mesmerised by him. He simply stared at them absently until 
they turned to look. This was to pick out "rubber-necks." 
It is a modification of the third degree. Some girls blushed, 
some bridled, some blundered, some rose and fiddled with articles 
in their jacket pockets on the hooks. For some twenty minates 
he stood there chewing a pencil or tapping it against his teeth, 
until the fourteen girls out of fifteen were in a state of nervous 
collapse. They had gradually grown to regard themselves as 
art specialists. They stood for " taste " in a barracks of flying 
machine-belts and printing frames. They had cultivated the 
artistic temperament, by which I mean they drank too much tea. 
You could have seen, had you climbed up the drain-pipe outside 
the high clear windows, their lips working convulsively and their 
eyelids twitching. You cannot, if you are still in the teens and 
highly strung, you really cannot endure the silent scrutiny of a 
stranger for twenty minutes, especially if you have had two 
cups of over-steeped tea for breakfast. If any one had been 
able to scale the drain-pipe and peep in suddenly, these fourteen 
girls would have shrieked themselves into hysteria. One or two 
jumped and bit their lips when he moved slowly across the floor 
behind them. He paused, hands in pockets, by Minnie's easel 
and examined her work. Minnie proceeded. She was nervous, 
but not having the artistic temperament, her nervousness was 
visualised as aggressiveness. She could hear the man's watch 
ticking. She looked up sharply. 

" What is it? " she asked, and the sound of her voice slackened 



48 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the frightful tension in the atmosphere. She could hear the 
other girls using handkerchiefs and shuffling their ieet, but she 
kept her eyes on the man. 

" Just you go on," he said in a low drawl, nodding his head 
gently. " Don't you mind me a bit. I'm just havin' a look 
raound." 

" I can't work with somebody watchin' me," she retorted, 
shifting the mirror that threw the light on the underside of her 
negative. 

The screw needed adjustment and she moved a little to get 
at it. 

"Can't you? Well, if that don't beat all!" he remarked, 
rubbing his chin, his head on one side. For another moment he 
paused to look her over, and then walked thoughtfully from the 
room. 

A titter, impossible to localise, began in the room. It gathered 
in volume, broke into a splutter here and there, sharpened to a 
squeal in a young thing with a plait, and died away to sharp 
hissing whispers. 

"Miss Gooderich, how could you?" came from the next girl 
but one, throwing her head back and then forward to gain a view 
of Minnie's face. 

"If he'd spoken to me I should have screamed!" announced 
another girl. 

Minnie made no comment. Perhaps her self-possession could 
be partly accounted for by her preoccupation with the larger 
problems. One cannot always permit the juggernaut personality 
of an employer to roll over one'^ mind. There had been a 
vibrant quality, a passion, in her mother's voice the night before, 
that had impressed Minnie in several ways. She had received a 
short but vivid glimpse into her mother's soul, and she had 
realised suddenly how impossible it would be to conBde. Each 
member of the family seemed a stranger to the others. Bert's 
lumpish jocularity and candour was but a plant of forced growth. 
So she pondered as she worked. Indeed, when the red-faced 
man had paused behind her, Minnie had been asking herself the 
classic question, "Why not?" Why not get away from her 
sordid surronndings* the strained relations, the coal-agent's clerk? 
She WAS thinking especially of the last when she looked up 
sharply and spoke. 

At a quarter to one, as she rolled up her black alpaca apron 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 49 

and set her gear straight^ Minnie was still turning her affairs 
over in her mind. In the lavatory there was much whispering 
and larkish laughter concerning tennis, for the girls bad a 
court in the neighbouring recreation ground. Minnie did not 
belong to the club. The subscription was five shillings, one 
had to buy a racket and shoes, and Minnie, though a quick 
worker, a vigorous walker when bound anywhere, loathed violent 
exercise. Her ideal was something quite different. Before this 
book is ended, you will have a clear notion of what that ideal 
was. 



XI 

AT one o'clock Minnie was standing in the secretary's 
private office. Some of the girls had already entered 
and emerged before her torn came. They emerged 
holding a business letter instead of the usual small 
cash envelope. Now as she stood by the table the secretary 
pushed an envelope from the pile by the cash-box towards her. 
The red-faced man in the striped flannel suit stood at the desk 
turning over a file, wetting his thumbs at times. On the envelope 
was written " W. Gooderich. 12s." The secretary, who came 
down from the London studios every Saturday, wore a preoc- 
cupied air. 

He noted the name and amount in his book, and said, " There 
you are, miss. Kindly read the notice enclosed, and send Miss 
Milligan in. Good morning." 

A presentiment of disaster seized Minnie as she made her 
way out with the envelope in her hand. As a general rule she 
walked home through the recreation ground, and along the 
ballasted line path that brought her out upon the railway bridge. 
But to-day she took the road by the cemetery, and when she had 
walked round the bend she opened the envelope. A half-sov- 
ereign and a florin lay at the bottom, and taking out the coins 
she put them in her purse. Then she drew out the letter, slowly 
unfolded it and read it 

The British Tbtratint Company, 

402, South Berners Street, 

W. 

Dear Madam: 

In view of the exieuMive alterations in the company's process 

work, I am instructed to inform you that your services will be no 

longer required. 

Your engagement mil therefore terminate on the Saturday 

following receipt of this notice. 

Yours faithfully, 

Joseph Myers, Secretary, 

Miss W. Gooderich. 

50 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 51 

It was a habit of Minnie's to talk to herself when she was 
walking alone. 

"So that's it, is H?" she mused. "Wouldn't he be glad if 
he knew! He'd come tryin' to make it up. And mother 'ud 
back him up. And I really believe mother will be glad too. 
She'll think it's a judgment on me for bein' saucy. I don't 
care! I daresay I can get a situation at a distance. Oh, Lord, 
how I hate this place! 'Dear Madam!'" she mimicked. "I 
think I'm a pretty cheap madam at twelve shillings a week and 
£nd yourself. Miss W. Gooderich is no longer for sale at that 
figure, my dears, and don't you forget it. She's goin' out to 
have a look round." 

And tearing the letter into very small pieces she dropped 
them through the cemetery railings. There was a species of 
ritual about this deliberate rending of paper. Minnie was 
unconsciously celebrating the new momentous cleavage in her 
life. 

From a worldly point of view, there seemed little to engender 
joy in the young woman's heart. Yet indubitably did she 
mount the hiU with a swing of body and poise of head that had 
been absent in the morning. At the cross-roads at the top she 
paused, considering. The sudden appearance of the American 
woman interrupted her. 

** Well, Minnie, finished, I suppose? Where are you going? " 

" Well, Mrs. Gaynor, I woi going to the station." 

" This afternoon, I mean." 

" Oh, nothing particular." 

" Then come with me. I'm going marketing." 

" Are you? I'll only be in the way." 

''Stuff! Come and Ulk to me." 

" All right, Mrs. Gaynor." 

They walked down Wood Lane, and separated at Mrs. Gaynor's 
back entrance. Minnie went up the garden into the kitchen. 
Mrs. Gooderich was drying a saucepan of potatoes, holding it 
carefully upside down over a pan and shaking vigorously. 

"Well, child?" 

"Mother, you might as well know it at once. I've got the 

"Got the " Mrs. Gooderich put the saucepan carefully 

cm the stove and turned to her daughter. 

^Thc push, mother. They're putting down machinery for 



02 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



«« 



tome new process, and oat we go. I do at any rate. There's 
a new governor. It's a week's notice." 

" Whatever shall we do ! " 

'' Do? I'm going to look for a job. I've had enough of it 
anyhow." 

" But you wouldn't give it up before? " 

" S'pose I wouldn't. It was different then. I can't help my- 
self now. At least, I mean I can help myself. I'm goin' to have 
a try anyhow. Hannibal Gooderich ! " 

Little Hannibal, his coat and waistcoat thrown aside, was 
playing ball against the house-wall. He was counting softly 
to himself, for the idea is to make a record number of catches 
from the rebound. 

What you want?" he called swiftly between two counts. 
Come here." Unwillingly Hannibal came, bouncing the ball 
up and down. Minnie gave him a sixpence. 

" Go to the station and get a Dall^ Newi, a Dall^ Chronicle, 
a DmIj/ MaU, and a Daily Telegraph. And bring back the 
change." 

" Can't I 'ave a penny? " 

Minnie regarded him from beneath her level brows. He was 
not a particularly desirable-looking child, with his snub nose, his 
freckles, his torn knees and carelessly-tied boots. His hands 
were filthy, the nails packed with black dirt, the knuckles 
studded with warts which had been split and nibbled. He 
was a suburban child, sheath upon sheath of grossness encasing 
the glowing soul within. His mind, too, was sheathed with 
material "wants." He wanted a penny, he wanted sweets, he 
wanted papers with pictures, he wanted a fishing rod and sharp 
knives, he wanted a bicycle. All these wants covered the divine 
want within, which no one ever suspected. At long intervals, 
as he grew, the child had glimpses of himself. Now it would 
be the slow majestic flight of the rooks as they sailed back to 
their nests in the woods at eventide. Once it was the mysterious 
chime of the bells at Old Southgate Church coming muffled and 
thrilling through the frozen air of a winter night Or at times 
the thunder of the heavy night-mail beating up the Northern 
Heights in flame and glowing cinders, roused the innermost soul 
of him, so that he would climb the railings by the line path, his 
chin pressed against the pointed stakes, and hold on, screaming 
for joy. But these were mere temporary obsessions. The world 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 6S 

saw but a dirty child^ given to truancy^ bell-ringings and petty 
nuisances. He stood there with the sixpence in his palm, crav- 
ing a penny. 

"Get out of the way^ do!" said the mother on the road to 
the scullery. "What dyou want papers for, Minnie?" 

"Advertisements, of course," the girl answered impatiently. 
"Go on, Hanny. You can have a penny." The boy leapt 
away, tearing at top speed down the garden and out into Wood 
Lane. The next moment he was back. 

"The Daily whats?" he asked. Minnie repeated the names 
of the journals which were to show her the way to fortune, 
and Hannibal vanished. 

That boy runs wild," said his mother, from the scullery. 

But I can't keep him in. These long 'olidays! Six weeks! 
And clean an' cook, cook an' clean day in day out Youll go 
to the factory next week, Minnie? " 

" Not if a job comes along before. I'll take the first tiring 
that offers. It'll be a start. Mrs. Gaynor asked me to go with 
her this afternoon. Marketing she calls it." 

" She goes to Finsbury Park. You might get 'alf a pound o' 
Gilray's butter for me. It's better'n anytiiing here at a shillin'." 

" All right. But I'm going to look at the papers after dinner. 
It's funny her askin' me though." 

" I can't make 'er out," said Mrs. Gooderich. " She's always 
talkin' over my head. It's all very well 'er tellin' me this, that 
an' the other about management, but I can't do it The other 
day she says to me, 'What d'you want lace curtains for? I 
don't 'ave curtains.' And look at 'er front room. There's noth- 
ing in it" 

" There's room to move in it," remarked Minnie, nursing her 
knee. Mrs. Gooderich, wiping her hands on a roller towel, re- 
garded her daughter suspiciously. 

" That's your idea! Why have anything in the house at all? 
As for curtains, everybody can see straight in when you're sittin' 
in Mrs. Gaynor's front room. Not that she minds ! " 

"You can see straight into the room at the Lodge," said 
Minnie. The Lodge was the big house opposite. 

" That's pride. They want people to see their nice things. 
I wish you'd lay the table." 

** Mrs. Gaynor, she has her meals In the kitchen," said Minnie 
maliciously. 



54 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



" That's a nice way o' Uvin' ! You'd like that, I s'pose? " 

" Saves trouble, anyhow. This front-room business is all 
fiddle-faddle, tryin' to live like people with millions." 

Minnie rose and went to lay the table in the front room, 
taking off her hat as she went. That front room, with its 
horsehair furniture, often offended her. The table was too 
big for the room, the bamboo table in the window slewed to 
one side on its shaky legs, while the mantelpiece was piled high 
with ornaments and things that are known as "knick-knacks." 
Sometimes Minnie wanted to sweep tliat wondrous edifice of 
knick-knacks to the floor with one mighty crash. Tliis was not 
the artistic temperament surging out in righteous wrath against 
Victorian tendencies, it was an ebullition of hatred. Those vases 
and bowls signified, in their dreary useless emptiness, the dreari- 
ness and uselessness and emptiness of the Maple Road spiritual 
atmosphere. Those fly-specked cards and photographs were 
blatant with the false ideals of Maple Road. A New Year's 
card from their cousins Amelia, Florence, Thomas, and John, 
children of their father's sister at Camberwell, was propped 
against the paternal shag-boz. Often Minnie's lip had curled 
as she read the turgid doggerel, " dear " rhyming with " Year," 
" lour " with " hour," and " thine " with " syne." 

This attitude of Minnie's towards the gentle hypocrisy of 
our lives must be remembered later on, for it helps to explain 
why she seemed so pitilessly brave, so naturally unconventional. 

While she laid the table Hannibal came in with the papers. 
He looked longingly at the change. 

" Here you are," said Minnie, giving him a penny. " Now 
run away. I want to read." She sat down on the sofa by the 
window, shook out tlie vast sails of the Dailif Telegraph, holding 
them at arms' length and knitting her brows. Here was the tug 
of war. 

Out of the innumerable legends on that mighty banner she 
was to select one that would bring to her salvation. What 
a wonderful panorama it was, all those fiats, hotels, bungalows, 
and " upper parts " to let, all those agencies going begging, 
those Broadwood pianos going for twenty pounds, those columns 
of situations vacant ! Minnie let her eyes wander over the sheet 
for a few moments before she settled down to the business of 
noting addresses. She read down the money-lenders' column 
with a perplexed look on her face. What could they mean? 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 55 

Was it possible that^ by going to one of these angels of mercy, 
one could get any sum, from twenty-five to twenty thousand 
pounds, in three hours? Though varied in phraseology, the 
essence of all was identical By dropping a card, by 'phoning a 
message, by pressing a button, one might say, you had any sum 
you liked to name, " without Fees, Fuss, or Farce," " simply on 
note of hand," " in a few hours ! " Some were more modest than 
others. From them you could only get five thousand, but it was 
" with strict privacy." 

If you were of good family, a retired major, and public- 
school man, would protect your sensitive spirit from tlie coarse 
world outside. Minnie wondered what it all meant. Why did 
people remain poor ? " Why go bankrupt ? " asked one advertiser 
indignantly. Why indeed? 

She turned to the " Situations Vacant." There is something 
very relaxing to the mind in reading advertisements of situa- 
tions when the reader is one of the unemployed. The interest 
is so continually tightened and loosened, the future looks rosy 
and black with such monotonous alternation, that the mind 
becomes flaccid and incapable of judgment So it was with 
Minnie. She read them all, from the Accountant wanted in 
Cairo, who got seven hundred a year and had to know French, 
German, Greeks Arabic, and some Italian, down to the Young 
Lady Companion wanted by an Irish lady residing in Yoko- 
hama, who got no salary and a Christian " Home." Between 
these two extremes of prosperity and competence lay a welter 
of travellers, bodice-hands, porters, drapers' assistants, errand- 
boys, and window-cleaners. Minnie saw them all, hustling as 
In one big stairway, climbing, stumbling, pushing, getting on 
each other's backs, tripping unwary juniors and slightly-bald 
seniors, each for himself. Minnie was in no way foolishly 
Ignorant of these things, she had seen the struggle for existence 
go on up at the factory. Indeed, it was the vivid contrast, in 
her mind, between the real strife and the pretended good-will 
In men that roused tlie sardonic in her. She had known brisk 
young men circulate tales about seniors so that their chances 
of advancement might be bettered. She remembered the very 
brisk youth who had borrowed money from So-and-so and had 
then spread a rumour that So-and-so lived as a blood-sucking 
usurer. She knew of happenings more scandalous still among 
the young women who had shared her labours up the road. 



56 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Only one item seemed at all possible, Minnie thoaght, after 
a few minutes of elation and depression. A Yomig Lady was 
wanted to nurse a delicate cliild. Duties light, and most prob- 
ably the salary was equally airy. But there was nothing for a 
young woman skilled in the enrichment of photographic negatives. 
No one wanted a retoucher to proceed at once to Bolivia, at a 
large salary, to fake portraits. She put the Telegraph down 
and took up another paper. And then her mother came in with 
the dinner and the three of them sat down to the table. 

" Hadn't you better write to your Uncle George about it? " 
suggested Mrs. Gooderich. Uncle George was tiie father of 
cousins Amelia, Florence, Thomas, and John. Minnie sniffed. 

" Uncle George wouldn't thank me to do anything of the kind, 
mother. He's not over in love with any of us." 

'* He might know of something," vaguely answered her mother. 

" I'll try myself, next week." 

Mrs. Gooderich was silent. She would have mentioned do- 
mestic service, but she knew that Minnie would " bite her head 
off" at the first words. And like most mothers, she did not 
believe that her daughter knew anything about keeping house. 
Little Hannibal, absorbed in the possibilities of a Saturday 
afternoon with a whole penny to squander, was too busy eating 
and pondering to ask questions. 

" Well, don't forget the butter," said Mrs. Gooderich as Minnie 
put on her hat. 

"All right. Anything else?" she answered absently. She 
was deep in thought as she walked slowly up to Mrs. Gaynor's 
door. 

Mrs. Gaynor lived with her one child in a mysterious way. 
She never did anything " for a living," she never seemed in 
want, and yet she never spent any more than her neighbours. 
Her domestic economy was extensive and peculiar, and had 
puzzled others besides Mrs. Gooderich. She talked often in 
a religious way, yet she never went to chapel. The curate 
lifted his hat to her, and the Wesleyan minister made an 
obeisance when he met her, and yet they could not claim her as 
a communicant. It was whispered that she owned her house, 
that she was a miser, yet richer than the folk at Maple Lodge. 
She could not afford lace curtains, apparently, yet it was 
rumoured that she had plenty upstairs in drawers. After a 
while the continued discussion of her peculiarities became stale. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 57 

She remained while the neighbours vanished^ some by day^ others 
by night. Her boy, whom no one had ever seen in a linen 
collar, frolicked joyously in a red jersey and corduroy breeches, 
a suburban anomaly. People ceased to make remarks. Mrs. 
Gaynor was an institution. She never asked for credit, and 
proclaimed herself no lady by bringing her purchases home her- 
self, and so preventing tradesmen from sending inferior articles. 
The coal-agent's clerk had once revealed a professional secret 
by remarking that Mrs. Gaynor always ordered her coal, and 
paid for it, at summer prices, instead of buying it by the hun- 
dredweight. Such was the lady with whom Minnie Gooderich 
was to spend the afternoon. 




XII 

* ^^^T'S funny you askin' me to go out to-day, Mrs. Gaynor," 
said Minnie, as they stood waiting for the train. " Be- 
cause I got a week's notice this morning." 
" You did? What have you been up to? " 

*' Nothing. They've sold the company to an American firm, 
the Tetratint Company." 

"You're not worrying?" 

Mrs. Gaynor was a simply-dressed woman of slender frame, 
grey-green eyes, and very thin but expressive lips. She looked 
seriously at Minnie, and the girl laughed. 

*' That's a funny question to ask, Mrs. Gaynor." 

" It's essential. Most people miss essential questions. If you 
tell me you're not worrying, I know at once how to answer 
you." 

*' Yes, I am worrying. Who wouldn't, when I don't know 
when I'll get another job? " 

"Worry won't get you a job, child! What do you want to 
do?" 

" Anything." 

The train came in, and they took their seats. Mrs. Gaynor 
waited until they had passed through the Wood Green tunnel 
before she spoke. 

" I don't mean by that, ' what do you want to do for a living? ' 
I mean what do you want to do with your life? " 

" I want to live, Mrs. Gaynor, not simply exist ! I'm tired 
of sticking round here, year after year, just muddling along. 
Mother " She stopped and bft her lip. 

"Go on. What of mother? Mothers are poor things any- 
way, I know." 

" You're laughing at me now. I don't know why I can talk 
to you better than to mother, but I can. My engagement's broken 
off, Mrs. Gaynor." 

"Who did that?" 

" I did, and I'm not sorry, either," defiantly. 

"Girls of your age aren't sorry for anything except them- 

68 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 59 

selves. I know that. Did you break it off because you want to 
live, instead of existing? " 

Minnie pondered a moment and then nodded. 

" Very well, then, get on with Ifving. Can you pick and 
choose ? " 

" Of course not. I'd have to take anything that offered." 

"Why not go to a registry office. There's always plenty of 
places for housemaids. English women are so shiftless that 
they must have them, and they don't know how to keep them 
when they get them." 

" Housemaid ! I don't like menial work," said Minnie. 

'' Menial ! Where I was bom, child, there wasn't such a word. 
You'll have much more chance of living in a woman's kitchen 
than in her husband's factory. I don't suggest it as something 
to last for ever. You're too good to make a life-long drudge 
of. But you want to educate yourself, and find out what life 
is. Then you can live it, as you say. I know a good deal 
more about life than you, Minnie, and I'm suggesting something 
that's more remunerative than what you've been doing." 

** Housemaids only get twelve pounds a year." 

** Do they? They get twenty in places, and all found. Can 
you save twenty pounds a year at photograph work? There's 
an old friend of mine keeps an office in Kensington, and if you 
like to go there, she'll give you some advice." 

" What's a servant want to educate herself for ? " said Minnie, 
poking the opposite seat with the umbrella. 

'* You don't know what may happen. You don't know what 
18 the matter with you, but I do. We've had girls like you in 
America for years. You want to spread out, you want all sorts 
of freedom, and you don't know how to get it. Instead most of 
you break your mothers' hearts and do ridiculous things. And 
all the time you miss what you're after — life." 

" Have you got what you're after, Mrs. Gaynor? " 

*' Surely, child ! I live my life and am happy. What more 
can one have?" 

" I want more than just bein' happy," said Minnie intensely. 
" I want money, lots of it, and I want to go about. All round, 
you know. I'd like to go to Paris ! " 

*' That* 8 natural," said Mrs. Gaynor placidly, her hands folded 
in her lap, and her grey-green eyes watching the enamelled 
boardings ihai flew past the window. " Perhaps you will some 



60 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

day. Many a beggar would ride if he only wished hard enough. 
Most beggars I know are beggars because they couldn't wish^ 
didn't know how. I'm telling you how you can learn to wish." 

" That sounds funny." 

" Not funny, strange. Here's Finsbury Park." 

" Strange, then. Would you put your own daughter to it, if 
you had one.^ " said Minnie, as they alighted. 

" Depends on the daughter. She might be very different from 
you. You've got a real strong mind. No one knows what you 
may do, some day." 

" Do you mean murder? '* 

" My gracious, child ! Why do you say such things ? Murder ! 
Well now! You say that? I didn't expect it." 

" What do you mean then? " 

" I don't know. I can't see. This engagement of yours — I 
can't see what's to replace it . . . No. . . ." 

Minnie Gooderich, walking beside Mrs. Gaynor up the Seven 
Sisters Road, was perplexed at this conversation, though it was 
Mrs. Gaynor's accustomed tone. Mrs. Gaynor herself looked 
perplexed too, but her face cleared again. 

" Well, child," she said, her thin lips smiling. " Do yo\i 
worry now? " 

" No," said the girl. " I'd forgotten to. One gets talking, 
and there you are." 

" Not altogether. Perhaps somebody else is wishing you not 
to> That helps, you know, helps wonderful." 

Minnie felt her scalp tingling intolerably. She set it down 
to walking in the sun. 

" Here's Risk's Sale on," she said. " Let's go in, Mrs. Gay- 
nor." That lady shook her head. Like most mystics she was 
very practical. 

*' Why, don't you believe in sales? " 

" Sales are like everything else in this country," said Mrs. 
Gaynor. " They're splendid things for those who are well off. 
If you were a rich young woman and wanted two or three party- 
gowns, you could get them shop-soiled and cheap and yet good. 
That's a bargain. So with white goods. But if you go in there 
to get odds and ends cheap, you'll only be buying trash." 

In spite of this wisdom of the world, Minnie paused to look. 
Messrs. Risk's windows were choked with the merchandise of 
a Summer Sale. In a few weeks they would be choked with 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 61 

that of an Autumn Sale. Mr. Risk himself^ having sold the 
business to a company by guaranteeing a dividend for a stated 
period^ now bred shorthorns and Irish terriers in Hertford- 
shire seclusion^ while the company strove to build up more 
business by selling their goods at half the cost price. This 
system demoralises buyer and seller alike, and Mrs. Gaynor 
would have none of it. 

It was drawing towards evening when they reached Fins- 
bury Park again, and sat down on one of tlie seats beneath the 
rustling trees of the drive. 

** I've been wondering what you really meant, Mrs. Gaynor, 
when you said I had a strong mind. Does a strong mind, and 
brains, and all that, bring in any money ? " 

" Not always. It's a great help though, because you can see 
where money is. I was thinking you'd probably get views as 
you grow older, and begin to spread them." 

" Me ! " 
Sure, you. Wait till you've been out in the world."- 
I don't know much about views, but I know I'd like plenty 
of money, and I like people with brains in their heads." 

" Well, just you stick to facts a while. I'll send you to Mrs. 
Worrall, and she'll have something for you." 

" Very likely I'll have plenty o' views when I've been house- 
maiding a bit," observed Minnie. 

" You might get something else." 

"What?" 

" Companion. Rich Englishwomen are pretty queer. I'll 
write to Mrs. Worrall about you. Just you call in on Monday 
morning and see her." 

The word " companion " ^ave Minnie food for rich and splendid 
dreams during the week-end. 






XIII 

AT three o'clock on Monday afternoon, Minnie Goode- 
rich, clad in a neat black skirt, print blouse, black 
jacket and straw hat, entered a fancy-shop in the 
neighbourhood of South Kensington Station. It was 
a large fancy-shop. You could purchase anything from a 
paper-weight to a Gladstone bag, from a bottle of ink to a fire- 
screen. Within its large glass door you could feel an atmos- 
phere of rich refinement. Unconsciously you trod softly; you 
modulated your voice to the well-bred drone of the west. A 
coimter piled high with stationery ablaze with the insignia of 
the wealthy occupied the left side. To the right extended cases 
of expensive leather goods, paper-knives of onyx and ivory, 
fountain-pens of wrought and jewelled metal, prayer-books that 
retired empresses might finger. Beyond this banked and ter- 
raced merchandise stood a telephone-box. Through the glased 
panel Minnie saw a lady communicating with the beyond, her 
lips moving rapidly yet without a sound. Beyond again, was 
a ground glass door labelled " Office," a discreet, genteel-looking 
door, a door that had inmiense possibilities. A young woman 
with thin classical features was busy behind the counter, her 
head just visible above a cabinet of brass wherein reposed sample 
armorial bearings of many colours and intricate design. As 
Minnie stood within this genteel emporium of useless articles, 
the young woman leaned over the heraldic cabinet and exam- 
ined her. One glance was sufficient. The young woman re- 
turned to her occupation. 

"Is Mrs. Worrall in?" asked Minnie briskly. The young 
woman raised her eyebrows. 

She is engaged." 

Give her this letter, will you?" And Minnie passed over 

a square white envelope. The young woman took it by one 

comer and read the address. 

" Is there any answer? " 

«2 



« 



<« 
« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 68 

"Yes, there is, and I'll wait for it/' answered Minnie 
sharply. The young woman went into the office. 

"Come this way, please/' she said when she returned, and 
Minnie stepped forward. The young woman closed the door, 
and Minnie found herself confronting a stout, richly-dressed 
lady who was seated at a roll-top desk covered with papers. 

"Take a seat. What can I do for you?" 

Minnie sat down and told her. 

" So I see by Mrs. Gaynor's letter. Have you had any ex- 
perience of housework?" Minnie shook her head. 
Or of secretarial duties?" Another shake. 
But, my good girl — but let me read the letter through. 
Hm — hm." 

Minnie watched the woman's face as she turned the letter 
over, and her eyes moved slowly down the page. 

" H'm — I see, I see." For a few moments Mrs. WorraU 
remained in deep thought. Then she took a sheet of paper 
and a pen and wrote rapidly a few lines. This she folded and 
put in an envelope, sealing it with green wax. 

" I can do nothing for you here/' she said. " My connection 
is entirely among ladies who expect their maids to have testi- 
monials from the aristocracy. As for a post as companion, 
my clients expect applicants to be of the aristocracy, I think. 
But if you take this letter to this address " — here she wrote 
the address — "you may be suited. That is all I can do." 

"Is this a situation?" asked Minnie, rising and taking the 
letter. 

" Possibly. I wish you success, as you are a friend of Mrs. 
Gaynor's. It refers to a post I could not offer in the usual 
way, for certain reasons. It would damage my business. You 
understand ? " 

" Can't say I do, ma'am." The lady smiled. 

" Mrs. Gaynor remarks in her letter that you have much to 
learn. If you will deliver that letter — take a 'bus to Chancery 
Lane — you will begin to learn. Good day." 

And Mrs. Worrall resumed her labours at the roll-top desk. 

As the 'bus lumbered eastward, Minnie pondered over the 
mysterious quest upon which the quiet American woman next- 
door-but-one had started her. What might not happen? In any 
case, was not this infinitely preferable to the humdrum monotony 
of working at the factory and walking out? How glorious the 



64 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

world was! All this press of people^ the green of the parks^ 
the roar of traffic! Why had she never broken away before? 
There was a snap of mischief in her eyes as she glanced around 
her. A youth sitting behind her on the 'bus imagined her to 
be making eyes at him. He coughed to attract her attention. 
Minnie turned again and froze him with a look. 

The address on the letter was to Mrs. Olga B. Wilfley, 29b, 
Clifford's Inn^ Strand. Minnie was in a complete and very 
natural darkness as to the nature of an Inn. She did not sup- 
pose it to be a public-house. Perhaps it was a hotel. The 
mystery which surrounded the whole business seemed summed 
up in this address. 29b was a novel in itself. In a short time 
it would be explained. In the meanwhile she lived in a simmer- 
ing ecstasy on the top of the lumbering 'bus. Knightsbridge> 
Hyde Park, Piccadilly, all passed in brilliant sunshine before 
her. This indeed was the world. She noted with quick eyes 
the girls leaning back in victorias which waited at the curb by 
Swan and Edgar's and Peter Robinson's. They were rich, of 
course. The sunlight flashed on the silver of the harness and 
the silk of the coachmen's hats. The 'bus halted, passed on 
down Haymarket, and she had a glimpse of St. James' Park, 
with the Government buildings overtopped by Big Ben. 
And then Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, and the Strand, all 
for threepence. Minnie leaned over and addressed the driver. 

" ClifTord's Inn ? You git down at Chancery Lane^ mi^, 
that's what you do, for Clifford's Inn?" 

Minnie enquired whnt sort of place it was. The driver told 
her it was "chambers," which was none too illuminating to a 
suburban girl. He bad a brother-in-law, he averred, who bad 
a hawker's licence, and hawked studs and bootlaces and other 
small haberdashery, and he kept his stock at the porter's in 
Clifford's Inn. It was handy too, for a hawker, when rain 
came on, 'cause there was an archway-like. Thrippence a week 
he paid for keeping his stock there o' nights. Funny old place, 
with grass an' trees too, right bung in the Strand. The driver 
rambled on with his monologue, just as his horses rambled along 
the Strand. Was Miss up from the country? Minnie, with 
that sudden asperity of hers, replied, " Yes, from Green 
Lanes ! " and the driver resumed his lifelong study of horses' 
ears. At Chancery Lane, Minnie got down. 

Somewhat numb from her ride, she discovered the passage 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 65 

which leads to the Inn. Her simmering ecstasy had faded, 
she was less confident of success. Mrs. Gnynor, now — wliat 
led her to expect so much of Mrs. Gaynor*s influence? She 
marched into tlie courtyard and stared. She caught sight of 
a railed-in lawn with trees, and walked through another arch- 
waj; keenly interested. Was it possible people lived in such 
queer old places still. Yes, tliere were people sitting on the 
seats beneath the trees. Several of them were asleep; one, a 
woman, was sitting motionless, reading a book. Nothing stirred. 
The roar of the traffic had fallen to a fnint hum. You might 
almost imagine a magician's spell over this quiet nook, every- 
thing suddenly fixed in its place for unnumbered years. It 
was like, it was like, — Minnie struggled with her stock of 
imagery for a moment — like a convent^ it was so calm, so still 
on that warm afternoon. What quiet people they must be who 
dwelt in these black old houses ! A tall young man in a black coat 
and silk liat, and carrying an attache-case of yellow leather, came 
through from the Chancery Lane entrance and walked past her. 

" Which is 29b, please } ** said Minnie, suddenly. He paused 
at once, and looked at her keenly. He had a keen face, his nose 
was sharp, his eyes were sharp, and his voice, when he spoke, 
had a sharp metallic way with consonants that reminded one of 
a machine. 

" I am bound there," he replied. " May I have the 
pleasure ? " 

Minnie Gooderich did not resemble a maidservant as she stood 
regarding him from beneath her straw hat. Those were the days 
when straw hats were in vogue in all walks of life. Moreover, 
those were the days when the Inn harboured folk of all descrip- 
tions. You never knew, Anthonv Gilfillan was wont to snv, 
whom you might know, in Clifford's Inn, in those days. He 
himself, with his yellow attache case, was eager, anxious, burn- 
ing to know everybody. Without ado he led the way round the 
quadrangle, and made a gesture for Minnie to enter the ])orch. 

" A lovely day," he observed, glancing keenly at tlie girl 
reading on the seat. " Quite a monastic place this, for the 
centre of London. But perhaps you do not know the Inn } " 

" No," said she, clearing her throat. " IVe come to see a 
Mrs."— she referred to the letter — '* a Mrs. Olga Wilfley." 

"Oh, really? My hostess. Her flat is at the top. You 
know she has an * At Home * to-day } Do you know her } Well, 



W CASUALS OF THE SEA 

excuse me asking all these questions. Mind these stairs, they 
are rather steep^ aren't they? They had peculiar ideas of com- 
fort in the eighteenth century, don't you think?" 

The eighteenth-century's ideas of comfort were not more 
peculiar than Minnie's ideas of the eighteenth century. When 
they had ascended two floors, she paused for breath. 

" Excuse me ! I forgot how fast we were walking. Shall 
I go up and get a chair? Take my arm." 

** Oh, no, thank you. I — look here," Minnie, in spite of her 
protest, touched his arm. ** Look here, you're making a mis- 
take. I've come to see Mrs. Wilfley about a situation. There! " 

She expected him to draw away, apologise, and quit her. 
But Mr. Anthony Gilfillan did nothing of the kind. He re- 
garded her face keenly, her ungloved left hand resting on his 
sleeve, her slim straight figure resting ngainst the broad sill of 
the landing-window. A type-writer clicked behind a heavy door 
near them. 

"Indeed! I wish you success. Can I be of any service? 
If you will tell me your name, I shall be delighted to introduce 
you to Mrs. Wilfley. That is," he smiled, " if you do not object. 
My name is Gilflllan, Anthony Gil Allan." 

" Mine's Wilhelmina Gooderich," said Minnie. 

"And you are come about a situation?" Mr. Gilfillan set 
his attach6-case on the sill and showed no desire to rush to Mrs. 
Wilfley's " At Home." " I take it you are, then, of Mrs. Wil- 
fley *s persuasion?" 

" I don't know what you mean," she answered shortly. " I've 
an introduction to her, but I shouldn't know her if I fell over 
her, I'm sure." 

" I see." 

"She's not — touched, off her head, is she?" asked Minnie, 
with a sudden suspicion, bom of Mrs. Worrall's guarded man- 
ner, shooting through her mind. Mr. Gilfillan laughed and 
checked himself. He reflected that he had always considered 
that to be his own private joke against Olga Wilfley. 

" By no means ; Mrs. Wilfley is a very shrewd woman of the 
world. Shall we go up? " 

As they turned the last comer of that interminable staircase, 
a low insistent murmur of conversation and a tinkling of teacups 
reached their ears. The door of the flat was open to either side 
of the landing, and a messenger-boy, his hair oiled and brushed. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 67 

8tood at the stair head. Another messenger-boy, vhose head 
was even more oiled and brushed, strutted across their field of 
vision with a tray of bread and butter. A man and a woman 
followed, the woman listening with head on one side as the 
man explained something with pats of fingers on palm. The 
woman lifted her head and saw Mr. GilfiUan. 

"Oh, Mr. GilfiUan!" she sailed right at him, hand held 
high, face all smiles, effervescing a sort of welcome. Mrs. Olga 
Wilfiey's welcome was always more like a glass of soda water 
than a glass of wine. It sparkled and fizzed, but there was no 
heat in it. Her hand dropped listlessly from yours, which is 
the true test. 

A few words of polite enquiry, as the oiled and brushed boy 
relieved him of his hat and case, and Mr. Gilfillan turned to 
the girl at his side, now really nervous and therefore, being 
Minnie, trembling to be on the aggressive. 

*' Pardon me. Let me introduce Miss Gooderich — Mrs. 
Wilfley.*' 

" So good of Mr. Gilfillan to bring you along," she purred. 
" Do go in and have some tea. There will be music presently. 
. . . Who is she, Tony?" she whispered, as Minnie walked 
with extreme agitation through the nearest doorway. 

*' Lord knows," he replied, blowing his nose unnecessarily. 
"I found her trying to find your place — says she wants a 
situation — so I fetched her up." 

"A situation?" 

** Yes, she's a letter for you, from somewhere." 

" But she may be a servant ! " 

** Quite likely. I didn't know you took any ^ception to 
servants. Beneath the innumerable sheaths of the Self there 
is but one universal individual soul, eh ? " 

" Tony, you scoffer ! Go and look after her, and see she 
doesn't steal the sugar-tongs." 

Minnie's conjecture, dim enough, that the people in these 
old houses would in some way resemble them did not live long 
after she entered Mrs. Wilfiey's flat. She found herself stand- 
ing near the door of a large room with a gabled roof of dark 
rafters, from which hung rusty lanterns fitted with electric 
globes. The walls were of brown paper, apparently: the furni- 
ture, as far as could be seen from the people sitting on it, was 
"frightfully old," just as the people themselves were fright- 



68 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

fully modem. A grand piano sprawled in one corner. Brass 
candlesticks^ snuff ers> pistols^ china-pugs^ Japanese prints^ pen- 
and-ink " sketches^" old china^ Bartoiozzi prints in circular 
frames, and all the other rubbish of refinement were nailed to 
the brown-paper walls or lay on the antique bookcases, making 
it difficult to £nd a place for a really modern cup and saucer 
or a plate of fairly recent meringues. 

The people themselves may be described in the aggregate as 
journalists. One or two of them had written books, but I think 
tliey were really journalists. One or two had money of their 
own, and they wanted to be, really, journalists. They were all 
dressed passably well — the women in short-sleeved summer 
blouses with low necks, the men in black frock or morning coats 
with white slips in the opening, — and they all had a certain 
ease of manner, a certain facility of expression that was hard to 
distinguish, at times, from real knowledge and culture. But 
this facility was rarely felicity. Their tropes and metaphors, 
for example, were not so true and biting as Minnie's, though 
she felt too strange just then to know that. 

Mr. Anthony Gilfillan entered the room briskly, and shook 
hands with several people. He then sat down beside Minnie 
and began to chat with her. A messenger-boy brouglit two 
cups of tea and another offered a plate of cucumber sandwiches. 
It was a characteristic of Mrs. Olga Wilfley to use messenger- 
boys for purposes other than sending messages. Her great 
ambition was to have a private orchestra of commissionaires. 
She habitually used the piano for a reading desk, and in her 
bedroom you might have seen roses in beer-mugs. The bedroom 
itself was for the occasion turned into a cloak-room tended by 
her charwoman and a red-haired messenger-boy. Fixing electric 
lights inside rusty old lanterns gave her real joy, for her joy 
was quaintness. It was, as we have seen, very quaint indeed for 
Minnie to cpme " about a situation." It was dcliciously quaint 
for Tony Gilfillan, the bad boy, to drag the girl upstairs as a 
guest. The whole thing, in fact, was so irresistibly quaint that 
the hostess stood in the doorway, not ineffective in her silver- 
grey against the green portiere^ and observed the bad boy talking 
to his protegee, and so cold-shouldering the lady who did the 
phrenological departments of Stoney Cuts and the Rambler. 
This, roughly, was the conversation of Mr. Gilfillan and the rap- 
idly-calming Minnie, 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 69 

"Won't you have some tea, just to revive you after the 
stairs?" 

Thank you." Boy presents cups. 

And some cucumber sandwiches.^ You remember that bit 
about cucumber sandwiches in the first act of ' The Importance 
of Being Ernest ' ? " 

" Thanks." Boy presents sandwiches. " No, I don't go to 
theatres much. I live so far out, you see." 

" Oh, you do not live in town? " 

" No. That is, I live in North London." 

" You mean the suburbs ? " 

"Yes," with sudden asperity, "but you needn't rub it in!" 
No, because that's where I live myself.' 

What, in ? 

Stamford Hill.' 

" I know thai. I thought you lived " Minnie paused. 

" In this sort of place? No, I'd rather be shot." 

" There's some places in the suburbs I'd rather be shot than 
live in." 

" Have you been coming to London to business ? " 

" No. I've been working at a photo-finishing works. 
They've sold the place to an American firm and Tve had an 
Irish rise. That reminds me, I've a letter for Mrs. Wilfley. 
You make me forget what I came for," she laughed. 

" Well, that's just what I was out to do," he confessed. " Let 
me hold your cup. It's empty, will you have some more ? " 

" Yes, please, I'm thirsty." He rose to find a boy with tea. 
Mrs. Wilfiey came forward and sank like a grey cloud on his 
chair. 

" I'm so glad you came, you know. Miss — Miss • • ." her 
voice trailed off dreamily as she caught some one's eye across 
the room and smiled. " Mr. Gilfillan tells me you wanted to 



see me." 



<« 



Here's a letter from Mrs. Worrall," said Minnie, turning 
round for her sandwich plate. Mrs. Wilfley took the letter, 
perfectly conscious that every woman in the room was observant 
of her movement. 

" Thank you so much. Will you excuse me a tiny moment ? 
We are going to have some music before the lecture. A friend 
of mine is going to sing one of the quaintest Spanish songs. 
D'you mind?" 



70 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"No^ 111 wait till you come back." And Minnie munched 
her sandwiches. 

** Awfully pretty rooms, these of Mrs. Wilfley's," said a deep 
contralto voice on Minnie's left^ and she jumped. She was 
unaware that introductions were superfluous for light conversa- 
tions at Mrs. Wilfley's " At Homes." The phrenological lady 
of Stoney Cuts and the Rambler leaned toward Minnie and re- 
garded her with favour mingled with criticism. Minnie^ waiting 
until her mouth was empty^ replied that such was the fact. 

" Excuse me/' boomed the voice again^ " but are you a 
journalist.^ " 

"Me! Good gracious, no!" ejaculated the girL 

" Ah ! " The lady again regarded Minnie's phrenological 
development. " I thought you were, you know. Awfully clever 
woman, Mrs. Wilfley. You've read her, of course?" v 

" No, I haven't, ma'am. I'm afraid I don't know her very 
well." The lady's glance became a stare. 

"Sorry. I did not catch your name?" 

"Didn't you?" The sudden asperity was just rising to the 
occasion with some swift suburban argot, when the gallant Mr. 
Gilfillan returned with her replenished cup. 

"Ah, Miss Rathstein, how are you? Are you supplied? 
Very warm, isn't it? I've been opening a window or two at the 
back. Yes, it is sugared. Miss Gooderich. Miss Rathstein — 
Miss Gooderich." He sat down between them and crossed his 
legs. " Have you seen Bowman lately ? Is he safe for an arti- 
cle after all?" 

" Yes," said Miss Rathstein, suddenly recalling that she also 
was safe for five guineas if Bowman put in that article. 

" Miss Rathstein is a very old friend of mine," said Mr. Gil- 
fillan to Minnie. 

Some one struck chords on the piano in the other room across 
the landing. Mrs. Wilficy appeared at the door smiling quaintly. 
There was a general rustle and movement towards the other 



room. 



Let us stop here," whispered Mr. Gilfillan, laying his hand 
on Minnie's arm. Nothing loth, she sat down again. She was 
outwardly calm, intellectually excited, socially adrift on an un- 
known sea. Mr. Gilfillan was a new species to her, in particular. 
His attention was vigilant, yet the feminine instinct in her could 
lay hold of nothing. His whisper had nothing in it beyond the 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 71 

bare literal meaning. He gave her the impression that she was 
the one person in the world he wished to speak to^ yet he made 
no call to her sex. His keen eyes were animated, yet she de- 
tected no flash of desire. 

The quaint Spanish song was soon in full swing. The lady 
who sang it had spent a month in Grand Canary, and had been 
fascinated by the native airs. In Clifford's Inn, a month at 
the Santa Catalina Hotel qualifies you forever as an authority 
on Spanish music. She sang it rapidly in a high tinkling voice. 
She did not understand the meaning of the words. If she had 
I doubt if she would have sung it. That, at any rate, was the 
opinion hazarded by Mr. Gilfillan to Minnie, and I often used 
to find myself in accordance with his opinions. He had a very 
fair familiarity with decorative Spanish acquired while working 
in a power station at Antofogasta. 

"Don't you like music .^" Minnie asked. 

" It is an agreeable noise," he smiled. " But do you know 
what that lady is singing? " 

" Mrs. Wilfley said it was to be Spanish, I think." 

** Would you like to know what it is about ? " 

"Is it — saucy?" 

" Sauce, yes. Rather hot to the palate." 

" Oh, well, I'd like to know then," she dared, looking at him 
at last as she was accustomed to look at people. 

Mr. Gilfillan was somewhat taken aback. He plumed himself 
on his capacity, his proved capacity for reading character. He 
maintained it was half the battle in his business, which was com- 
pany promoting. But to find himself so very correct in his 
diagnosis of a casual acquaintance staggered him. 

** You won't blame me afterwards ? " 

" As if you cared ! " 

" I do. I care about the opinion every one has of me. If a 
man, or a woman, thinks wrongly of me, I would spend a great 
deal of time and money to put them right." 

"What on earth for?" 

" It all counts, in business." 

" Does it? Are you in business? " 

"I am an engineer." 

"Are you? My dad's an engineer." 

"Oh, really. Where is his office? I don't know the name." 

Minnie indulged a titter. 



72 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



" His office ! He works at McMuirland's, in the City." 

" Manager? " 

Minnie flushed slowly. " No^" she replied. " When I said 
work, I meant he's a workman." 

" Then he is a mechanic. The word engineer is wrongly 
applied to many branches of industry. Your father^ for in- 
stance^ is engaged in carrying out work designed by engineers 
— I know one of the McMuirland*s — just as a bricklayer, 
plasterer, or stone-cutter is engaged in carrying out work de- 
signed by architects. An engineer is one engaged in controlling 
and applying the forces of nature to industrial purposes. He 
is engaged in the advancement of mechanical science, as our 
Charter of George the Fourth explicitly states. It is important 
that every one should understand that." 

The quiet voice finished with a click. It was natural for 
Anthony Gilfillan to take the trouble to explain this to a young 
girl. He would have explained it with equal lucidity and en- 
thusiasm to an old woman. . . . He gave every one the credit 
for having as good a brain as himself. He himself was inter- 
ested in all the details of another man's life and work. He was 
not shocked to find himself talking to an artisan's daughter. He 
himself was a bootmaker's son. 

The quaint Spanish song rattled to a quaint conclusion of 
abysmal double-meanings and the lady pulled down her veil, 
took her gloves, and made her adieus. Several others expressed 
themselves desolated to miss the lecture, and Mrs. Wilfley smiled 
on the landing. 

" How are you two getting on? " she asked roguishly, coming 
towards them. ** Oh, Miss Gooderich, I'm so glad you came. 
If you can only wait until after the lecture?" 

" Certainly," returned Minnie, watching Mrs. Wilfley with 
some curiosity as that lady accepted a cigarette from Mr. Gil- 
fiUan's case. ** I'll wait until you are at liberty." 

" Thanks so much. It wants talking about, you see." 

Minnie supposed it did, though she was still mystified. Mrs. 
Wilfley sailed away. 

" Do you indulge? " The cigarette-case lay on Mr. GilfiUan's 
palm, open and tempting. Minnie's eyes wandered round the 
room for a single brief instant in a scared way, and then her 
hand reached out and took a cigarette. 

'* Thank you," she said, and he struck a match. 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 78 

"I prefer a woman to smoke/' he observed^ "but she must 
do it because she likes it. Now^ so many only light them and 
incur a headache." 

Minnie wondered what the young man in the coal-agent's 
ofBce would have said now. As a matter of fact^ tobacco did 
soothe her nerves. She plunged into conversation. 
" What is the lecture about ? " she began. 
Mr. Gilfillan fixed her with his deeply-set eyes. His face 
had the tenseness of an ascetic^ the deep eyes of a visionary^ 
the alertness of a man of business. 

" Do you — but of course you don't — know anything about 
Oriental religions ? " Minnie shook her head^ bored in an- 
ticipation. 

You have heard of missionaries f " She nodded. 
Going from London to India? " Another nod. 
"Well^ you will now see a missionary come from India to 
London^ to convert us to her own religion. Come^ let us go in 
and get a seat. You don't mind if I sit next you? " 

" Not at ally Mr. Gilfillan. I should be very glad^ since I 
don't know anybody." 

" I have a reason for asking that," he returned in his crisp 
clicking voice^ as they moved towar4s the door. Minnie won- 
dered what that reason might be, but she was arrested in her 
reply by surprise at the change in the appearance of the other 
room. Orange-coloured curtains were being drawn over the 
windows by the messenger-boys, mellowing the light. At a table 
stood a tawny-skinned woman in a dress of yellow silk, looking 
straight before her with large prominent eyes. She looked 
rather effective in the dim orange-light, her wide nostrils flaring 
now and again as she exhaled. Other people in the room were 
grouping themselves about the lounges and chairs against the 
windows. Mrs. Wilfley was whispering here and smiling there, 
directing messenger-boys as they removed the plates and cups. 
She beamed upon Mr. Gilfillan and beckoned with her eyes. 

Minnie sat down near a small bronze devil from the East and 
gave herself up to confused thought. The whole business 
seemed so astonishingly unreal that she might have expected, had 
she been imaginative, to wake up in Maple Avenue, N., and find 
ClifTord's Inn a dream. What would the coal-agent's clerk say? 
What tcould he say? She was not imaginative, and therefore 
she was unable to tell herself what he would say. She heard 



74 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Mr. GilfiUan saying something. No imagination was needed to 
secure Mr. GilfiUan's opinions. You had them clicked into your 
ear in excellent English^ French^ German, or Spanish, accord- 
ing to your nationality. If you were a mother he talked bicycles, 
babies, and bassinettes, urging the superior resiliency of inflated 
rubber as a tyre for your infant's vehicle. If you were an 
astronomer, he presented you with a novel and soul-searching 
variation of the pyknotic theory, a variation that impressed 
you even though it might have made Vogt turn in his grave. 
If you were a teacher, his views on teaching a plurality of 
lang^ges would confound your more practical brain, and he 
would admit, with a smile, that though he was a visionary on 
these matters, his daughter had been educated on his own prin- 
ciples and with much success. If you were by any chance 
artistic, he would produce a drawing cut out of Jugend or the 
Figaro, and it would pay you to listen to his opinion of D. Y. 
Cameron, of whom he had an early example. And so, since 
Minnie was an inexperienced young woman at an advanced 
tiieosophical stance, he provided her with information concern- 
ing that science, information as well-ordered as an algebraic 
formula, as luminous as one of his own highly-patented electric 
lamps. 

It is true that she did not comprehend a great deal of Mr. 
GilfiUan's definitions. Those who live, even in a small way, in 
the world of ideas, gradually adapt common speech, to their 
own ends. Mr. Gil Allan, who lived in a very extensive mansion 
in the world of ideas, though his house at Stamford Hill was 
only rated at thirty pounds, did not, acute as he was, realise 
that, when he used the word " sympathy," Minnie was not think- 
ing of a general emotion but of blad^-edged handkerchiefs at 
a funeral. So, too, when he said " association of ideas," Min- 
nie's mind thought of co-operative associations and political 
clubs. The saying " Death is, to them, only a recurring incident 
in an endless life," recalled recurring decimals to her mind. 
" Goodwill " was to her simply the goodwill of a business, which 
is the only form of goodwill ever heard of in suburban life. 
Minnie certainly had heard the phrase "Glory to God, good- 
will to man," but that was poetry, — it did not count. Alto- 
gether, Mr. GilfiUan's whispered preliminary did not assist 
Minnie very much as she sat eyeing the bronze devil near by. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 75 

And then the tawny woman at the table began to 8peak> and 
Minnie began to understand. 

There was no preamble^ no introduction^ no firstly. The 
tawny woman proceeded^ in a low penetrating voice^ to outline 
the latest discoveries of her sect concerning the mystery of 
existence. " If," said she, ** we dissect a common flower " — 
and Minnie's attention was riveted. She had dissected a com- 
mon flower. 

*' If we dissect a common flower, we find sheath after sheath, 
and in the centre the ovule. Witliin the ovule which is but an- 
other sheath, we find the nucleus, within the nucleus we find 
the nucleolus. This is the embryo of the future plant. This 
holds good throughout all nature and super-nature. The ovule, 
^c egg, lying quiescent, patient, waiting for the male influence 
to begin its fertilising work. Without conjimction all will be 
in vain. So it is with the world of yesterday and to-day. The 
world is composed of sheath upon sheath of protective needs and 
interests, witliin we find masses of nutritious knowledge sur- 
rounding the nucleus and nucleolus of passionate desire, waiting 
palpitatingly for the coming of the Sons of Mind. So it was 
when Sakya-muni came, so it was when Jesus came, so it is 
now ! " 

It may be doubted if the speaker of these and many other 
similar sentences really understood what she was saying. She 
certainly had no knowledge of the ranging impressions which 
she made upon the different persons in her audience. Minnie 
remembered the lectures on the differentiation of sex in flowers, 
though she had not expected so peculiar an application of bo- 
tanical facts. Mrs. Wilfley sat smiling, intently absorbing it 
all for purposes of adaptation, for she was an expert pilferer 
of ideas. She saw that a dextrous combination of the Sons of 
Mind and the Son of Man would '* rope in " many more into 
her " public," for she had a public. The ideas and terminology 
of the lecturer were at that time only just emerging from the 
brains at Benares, and Mrs. Wilfley saw their possibilities for 
quasi-religious literature. Mr. Gilfillan was also smiling a little, 
bnt he was not absorbing. Probably because he was a Son of 
Mind. He seemed too penetrating to absorb anything. A 
journalistic barrister and a dramatic-critic near him looked 
firmly at their boots, for they were believers. When you be- 



76 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

lieve in a religion tliat forbids intolerance and frowns on prosely- 
tism, you must look at your boots or perish. 

" We must not be led away by illusions as to our own great- 
ness. We must do the petty duties of the home ere we gird up 
our loins to accomplish the mighty deeds of a Mahatma. We 
must feel ere we can conquer. We must endure agony and sweat 
ere we rise in triumph. We must advance^ stage by stage^ death 
by death and life by life^ till of outward wrapping the Arhat 
is ultimately free, and we can enter into Nirvana, the place of 
Peace and Rest." 

It was a short lecture, as lectures go, yet they felt as though 
they had sat for a long time. Minnie felt a certain relief as 
people rose to pass into the other room, and Mr. Gilfillan's voice 
clicked in her ear. The tawny woman passed through curtains 
over a door at the back, and messenger-boys invaded the rooms 
with coffee and comestibles. A hum of conversation rose, the 
deep growl of the journalistic barrister mingled with the cul- 
tured modulation of a lady in black silk. Mr. Gilfillan pointed 
out to Minnie a picture representing Mr. Richard le Gallienne 
carrying a lady's petticoat over his arm. She saw no humour 
in it. He called her attention to a photograph of Mrs. Wilflcy, 
dressed in a loose robe, one hand on a marble pedestal, her profile 
showing effectively against a dark background, her eyes raised 
in the manner now immortalised in " Tlie Soul's Awakening.'* 
To emphasise this, a copy of that picture hung near by in an 
inconspicuous corner, for Mrs. Wilfley had a great deal of that 
cleverness which consists in knowing just how much people will 
stand. She knew that artistic, Bohemian people disliked " The 
Soul's Awakening," but she also knew tliat they unconsciously 
made an exception of Olga Berenice Wilfley, author of The 
Licencees of Love. She was aware, also, that a new influence 
was in the air, and she meant to work that new influence for 
all it was worth. Yes, the hard rationalism of Huxley and his 
followers was done for. Religion was going to have another 
turn. The soul was awakening, and Mrs. Wilfley was right 
there with the goods. 



XIV 

MINNIE'S ideas of the poetry and sensuousness of life 
had been formed to a great extent from the works 
of Augusta Wilson. At the Mercy of Tiberiu* had 
stirred lier depths when she had read it^ some years 
before, and, though by now the impression liad dimmed, it was 
still there. St. Elmo and Infelice (pronounced English style) 
were fine, but Tiberius was terrible. If her somewhat cool 
temperament had ever permitted her to soar and dream a silly 
girl's dreams, she had imagined herself in the future as a Beryl 
Brentano against the world. Perhaps her occupation having 
sometimes to do with Christmas Cards and being at any rate 
artistic, assisted her, for did not the stately Beryl, in the inter- 
vals of melodrama and to stave off the romantic poverty of New 
York City, design Christmas Cards? Truly the Brentano de- 
voted herself to her handsome brother, and the beauty of sacri- 
ficing anjrthing to either Bert or Hannibal had not been revealed 
to Minnie, who generally skipped the affectionate parts of stories 
and of life. But Tiberius himself, handsome, stem, blue-eyed, 
impossible either to gods or men, seemed to her a good working 
ideal; and now Mr. Anthony GilHllan, quite unconscious of the 
honour done him, for he was a widower with a young daughter, 
was raised to the shadowy throne and invested with the awful 
attributes of a Lenox Dunbar. 

One by one, two by two, and in one case in a party of four, 
the guests rose, shook hands in a way so distracting to Minnie 
that she was hypnotised by it again and again, and departed 
with messenger-boys in attendance. 

" I find," said Mr. Gilfillan, " that Miss Gooderich lives in 
my part of London, so I'll return, if I may, and show her the 
quickest route to King's Cross." And he looked keenly at his 
watch, calculated with thumb and finger on chin for a moment, 
smiled, turned suddenly on the waiting messenger-boy, accepted 
his hat and attach6 case, and prepared to depart. 

" There's no need to trouble," said Minnie, gratified. 

77 



78 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

** No trouble at all. I have a call to pay in the Charing 
Cross Road> I have ten minutes to get there. I shall be back 
in an hour exactly. Till then. . . ." And he was gone. 

Mrs. Wilfley looked at Miss Gooderich narrowly. 

Miss Gooderich regarded Mrs. Wilfley respectfully, realising 
once more that she had come " about a situation." 

Mrs. Wilfley rose and stood by the grand piano, arranging 
and re-arranging some flowers in a Chinese vase. 

'* I mentioned to Mrs. Worrall some time ago/' she observed 
with a new inflexion in her voice, " that my work and my health 
would force me to secure the services of an assistant. Certain 
circumstances " — here she paused eff'ectively — ** made it im- 
possible for me to advertise through Mrs. Worrall in the ordinary 
way. An alien influence at work, lack of sympathy in my as- 
sistants, would prove to be a deterrent to my own efl'orts. I 
scarcely " — Mrs. Wilfley smiled — " I scarcely expected to hear 
from my friend so soon." 

" Your friend must have made a mistake," Minnie said quickly. 
'* I couldn't be your assistant. I've no experience. I've been 
in a photo factory." 

" Ah, not immediately. My idea was, to train some one in my 
own methods. The remuneration would be small for a time, 
and then it would depend on yourself. You could begin learn- 
ing shorthand and the typewriter, you know. I should prefer 
to dictate. The drudgery of writing is so exhausting, and my 
health is very precarious." 

"What will the wages be, to start?" asked Minnie. Mrs. 
Wilfley looked pained at such directness. 

" Had we not better, perhaps, leave that for a week or two. 
Shall we say, a probationary month ? " 

** I'd like to know what to expect," the girl persisted. " I'd 
know where I was then." 

Mrs. Wilfley's pain increased. She coughed into her hand- 
kerchief. 

" You see, you have, as you say, no experience. Perhaps an 
honorarium of eight shillings' a week 

" I've been getting twelve.' 

Mrs. Wilfley was sharp enough to realise a bargain. She 
saw that this cool competent young woman might be the very 
person she was looking for. She saw, moreover, that the young 
woman might shy off if the salary were too low. 



a weeK " 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 79 



" Well, shall wc say twelve, after a probationary month ? " 

" I'm sorry I can't live on air even for a month, Mrs. Wilflcy. 
I knew shorthand at school^ and I daresay I can soon pick it up 
again. And I don't suppose the typewriter is very difficult.* If 
you'll give me twelve shillings a week I'll start to-morrow. I 
shall have fares to pay too, a season ticket and alL It'll be a 
tight fit for me, even on twelve shillings." 

" Very good^ then that is settled," knowing she could not get 
a qualified woman to assist her for less tlian a couple of pounds 
a week. " I do hope," she said, going over to Minnie and taking 
her hands^ " I do hope we shall be friends." 

" Yes, I hope so," said Minnie, shrivelling a little at the gush. 
" Will you tell me what I have to do ? " 

" To-morrow, to-morrow. I was intending to have some one 
who could live here with me, or at any rate, in the Inn. When 
I am in the mood, you know, I go on till I drop, and then per- 
haps I cannot touch a pen for several days. It is the artistic 
temperament." 

"Oh!" remarked Minnie. She was singularly helpless 
against the mild gush usually afi*ected by women like Mrs. 
Wilfley. 

"You like Mr. GilfiUan?" 

** Yes, he is very nice," returned Minnie frankly. " He talked 
to me all the time." 

" I shall be jealous ! " with unendurable roguishness. " Quite 
like some of those quaint romances one used to rave over. The 
stranger-maiden fascinates the heroine's great friend. You 
mustn't spoil our palship, Miss Gooderich. But you must know 
his little girl, such a jolly little kid." 

" Is he married? " Mr. Gilfillan's attitude was now partially 
explained. 

" His wife died some years ago, poor thing. His sister keeps 
honse for him. So different from him. He is awfully clever. 
Did you like Miss Rathstein? I saw you talking to her. She's 
very clever. She writes." 

During this monologue, Mrs. Wilfley was moving about, taking 
up books, laying down books, shifting ornaments, finally seating 
herself at the table and drawing a sheaf of papers from a locked 
drawer. Minnie watched her dispassionately, thinking of Mr. 
Gilfillan's little girl. So he was a widower. Mrs. Wilfley went 
on talking, as she wrote on the margin of a sheet of MS. 



« 

4« 
€* 



80 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Did you like the lecture ? But of course you found it rather 
deep. Miss Angarali is so very advanced." 

Minnie had a premonition that this sort of thing would prove 
tiresome. She was unnhle to understand people like the lady 
before her, who, without any ulterior motive and quite uncon- 
scious, I believe, of the inanity of their conduct, judge heaven 
and earth, past, present, and future, animate and inanimate, 
phenomena and noumena, merely as all these things affect them- 
selves. There is no sequence in their excogitations. Their 
brains work like an exercise in Ahn's First Course. 

Dante saw a vision of Heaven and Hell," you say. 

How quaint ! Do you like Dante ? " they query. 

I John, saw these things," thunders the prisoner of Patmos. 

I don't care for Revelation, do you.^ Too mystical for my 
taste." 

Minnie, possibly because of her plebeian origin, had a mind 
of denser texture. Her opinion of Miss Rathstein, for example, 
had nothing in it of like or dislike. You might as well have 
asked her if she liked the grass in Clifford's Inn. Similarly with 
the lecture. If Mrs. Wilfley had said, " Did you understand 
the lecture ? " she would have replied promptly, ** Some of it." 
But ^{innie had no conception of the rack upon which the Olga 
Wilfleys torture themselves, the rack of Culture which forces 
them to fake matured opinions and fixed preferences concerning 
all things that were ever seen in dreams or written down in 
books. 

As a matter of fact, this Board School girl had a clearer 
conception of the processes used as illustrations by the the- 
osophist than the journalist whose knowledge of flowers was 
limited to colour, smell, and the extraordinary names in nursery 
catalogues. Even at that moment, in a corner of the house in 
Maple Avenue, were hidden those neat note-books, with their 
little sketches in coloured inks, which " Old Piper " had marked 
" V.G." and *' Ex." with such keen pleasure. Nevertheless, she 
sat quiescent, waiting for the return of Mr. Gilfillan. The 
coarser mesh of her intellect allowed things like theosophy and 
phrenology to drop through out of sight. 

At length he came, within a minute or two of the hour he 
had proposed to take. He was not flushed with haste: he seemed, 
on the contrary, cooler than ever. Mr. Gilfillan was that sort 
of man. He did not appear to be in the thick of one of the most 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 81 

ezciting events in his career^ namely^ the flotation of an inter- 
national syndicate. He had discovered^ early in life^ that the 
world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool. Like the 
mediaeval saints^ he was consumed with a passion for converting 
the world to his own way of thinking. Like them^ also, he sat, 
80 to speak, up to the middle in snow. 

Minnie rose, tingling, looking round the walls of the room, 
after the fashion of one about to depart. Mrs. Wilfley shook 
hands with Mr. Gilfillan in the manner already dear to Minnie 
— hands held level with the chin. 

"When shall I see you again, Tony?" said Mrs. Wilfley, 
pushing her manuscript out of the way and rising. 

Mr. Gilflllan, drawing his chin back into his collar, and strok- 
ing the creases this formed, named a date. 

" And there's next Sunday, you know. We're going out to 
Richmond to lunch at the ' Greyhound.' " 

Mr. Gilflllan protested he had forgotten, in the press of busi- 
ness, the affair at the " Greyhound " at Richmond. 

" But you don't mean to say you've forgotten and made an- 
other appointment } " she cried. He thrust his chin sharply 
forward, took it firmly in his fingers, and nodded, looking pen- 
sive. 

" I have done just that," he returned. " For once will you 
excuse me? 1 have been somewhat preoccupied . . ." 

He did not tell Mrs. Wilfley that he had, since the previous 
morning, dictated a hundred and forty-two letters, held twenty- 
one consultations with his board, spoken to thirty people on the 
telephone, written fourteen telegrams and six cablegrams, and 
paid several calls to solicitors, patent agents, and underwriters' 
oflices. It would be no use telling Mrs. Wilfley all this. She 
would only simper and ask what the letters were about. He 
did not tell her that he had come to her flat that afternoon be- 
cause he hoped to see Miss Rathstein's employer as well as Miss 
Rathstein herself. He was not such a fool as to go to a City 
Editor in his office. The man selling papers at the comer of the 
street was probably in the pay of the rags which throve on 
damning speculative businesses. He did not tell her that he had 
gone to the Charing Cross Road because he might meet the City 
Editor in the brand new vegetarian restaurant — that restaurant 
which failed so brilliantly a year later — for the City Editor was 
a vegetarian as well as a Theosophist, All this was going on 



$2 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

and Mrs. Wilfley, who prided herself on managing Tony, did 
not know anything about it. He had no appointment^ as yet, 
to dash with the " Greyhound " lunch, but in the rush of the 
past few days Mrs. Wilfley and her outlook on life had grown 
distasteful It was only a transitory indifference, of course, 
for he knew to the full the aptitude of the lady in that art which 
he himself cultivated so strenuously, the Art of Publicity. He 
knew how useful to him she could be later on, when he hoped to 
have the leisure to elaborate the details of his masterpiece, '* Gil- 
fiUdn Filaments Limited." How these two people of diverse 
yet indisputable cleverness pursued their way up the secret 
paths to fame and fortune, how they ultimately placed the girl 
who now stood between them in a position that, to her own aston- 
ishment (and their own as well perhaps), developed her powers 
in a most unexpected way, will be told in its proper place. For 
the present it will suffice to indicate lightly the limitations of 
their intimacy. 

The worldly relations of men and women often form an equa- 
tion that cancels out without warning when some insignificant 
factor has been added to either side. In the case of Anthony 
GilfiUan and Mrs. Wilfley, Minnie was such a factor. Her 
unwitting interposition had dissolved the kinetic forces at play 
between them and left them in a condition of €tatio apathy. 
Even Mrs. Wilfley, though she had a certain slovenliness of mind 
that rendered her inattentive to the niceties of psychological 
analysis, was conscious of a change in the air as Mr. GilfiUan 
and Minnie took their departure. For a brief moment a faint 
suspicion, like the clouding of a mirror by a human breath, 
crossed her mind, a faint suspicion that Tony was not unaware 
of her wiles, and knew just how strong or how weak they were, 
just how easily snapped. For a moment this mood was reflected 
in her face. And then the absurdity of it made her smile. 
That chit! Ridiculous! Why, she was vulgar and suburban. 
Good material doubtless, but Tony would fly higher than that. 
... A woman must have intellect to capture Tony, eh? . . • 

And the breath of suspicion vanished, like any other breath. 

While Mrs. Wilfley was indulging in these pensive reflections. 
Mademoiselle Minnie and Anthony GilfiUan have got themselves 
out of Clifford's Inn and are walking down Fleet Street. Unless 
you remember that the gentleman was rather taU, wore a silk 



CASUALS OF THE SEA $8 

hat; and carried a leather attach6 case, you might not be able 
to pick them out of the human tide that surged eastward down 
that narrow gorge and swirled into a seething vortex at Ludgate 
Circus. There they were, however, their shadows lengthening 
on the flags before them, and at Cook's corner they turned into 
the shadow and comparative quiet of Farringdon Street. Not 
before the gentleman had bought papers, however, a pink paper, 
a green paper, and a white paper, which he folded small and 
put away in the attach^ case. 

The conversation, it appears, was of season tickets and the 
Expense of Life. 

" It's robbery and imposition, I know, but they have you in 
their power. That's why I don't live on that line. My line has 
competitors, you see, and they are kept straight. People won- 
der why Home Rails are moribund. No competition. In 
business a man should love his competitor like a brother. Of 
course you get the ten bob back when you give up the ticket." 

*'A11 these things make it very expensive to be in the City." 

" True, but where else can you be f The suburbs are merely 
vast dormitories, where a man may sleep in comparatively pure 
air, while his ofBce is being washed, in fact. People complain 
of their train services. I maintain that we who work in the 
City should need but two trains a day — the first train and the 
last train." 

'* That 'ud be a long day," commented Minnie. 

"With a siesta — a rest during midday," he added, with a 
far-away look in his eyes. " But I am a visionary in these 
matters. You were saying ?" 

" I wasn't saying anything, but I was thinking that there'd 
be a riot if some of your ideas got about." 

" Possibly, possibly. You dislike ideas ? " 

"Me? No, I like people to have some ideas in their heads. 
Precious few about in my part of the world though. And what 
there are don't do people much good." 

"How is that?'' 

"Well, look at this Tetratint idea. It's a good idea, and I 
know it makes better prints than we can do, and so it ought 
to be used. And it gives me the push," she added, without ill- 
feeling. 

" Perhaps a push is what you needed to make you get on. 



84 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

I owe my success to being pushed out of jobs too small for me. 
An idea is really a brain-push. Sometimes it pushes a man to 
success^ sometimes to despair/' 

" There was a minister in our district^ a very nice man^ who 
was a bit cranky in his ideas/' contributed Minnie. " People 
didn't know what he was^ he preached such queer sermons. 
Then he got the idea everybody went to heaven at last, and that 
did it. He got the bag, too." 

"A Universalist," laughed Mr. GilfiUan. "Fancy! That 
must have been a long while ago." 

" I was a little girl and heard them talking about him/' said 
Minnie. ** His ideas didn't do him much good." 

" No. Mind the cart. Have you settled with Mrs. Wilfley ? " 
he asked as they passed into Farringdon Street Station. 

" Well, I really don't know what to make of Mrs. Wilfley, 
and that's a fact/' she replied. ** She had the nerve to ask me 
to take eight shillings a week, when I've been lifting twelve. 
That put my back up, I can tell you. And then she wanted me 
for nothing for a month, if you please. And then she said she 
wanted me to live in. And after a lot of jabber about her own 
queer ways I don't even know what I've got to do for her." 

They were descending the §tairs to the platform, and Mr. 
GilfiUan stopped, put his hand on the girl's shoulder, and turned 
her round to him. People passing them were amused. 

" I think you will suit Mrs. Wilfley," he said, with a curious 
grin on his face. ** You will be like two cats sometimes, but 
she will find you useful." 

"But what is it I'm to do? Take down what she says in 
shorthand.^" 

" At times, but women are seldom in the habit of dictating. 
You may have to make suggestions, run errands, cash postal 
orders, and entertain people." 

" Me ! " 

"Why not?" 

"Me?" 

" Precisely. Mrs. Wilfley will no doubt be glad to use any 
ideas you have." He nodded to the barmaid who was looking 
out over a counter on the platform. 

Wlien they were in the train« he told her that he would be 
delighted to see her over at Stamford Hill some evening to meet 
his sister and daughter. Minnie was interested in that daugh- 



CASUALS 6f The sEa ta 

i?T, bat she was afraid it would be bad manners to ask questions. 
.So she said she'd be very pleased if it wasn't any inconvenience 
to them^ and^ after shaking hands with him, watched him descend 
at Finsbnry Park and vanish amon^;; a dense crowd of people 
bound homeward to High Bamet^ New Bamet, Finchley, En- 
field, and beyond. 

She proceeded to adjust her thoughts to the return to Maple 
Avenue. 



XV 

WHILE his sister Minnie was standing in* the Ken- 
sington Stationery Emporium and High-Class 
Servants' Registry Office^ little Hannibal Gooderich 
was sitting at a pitch-pine reversible desk in the 
Trinity Boad Higher Grade Board School^ engaged in the study 
of Art. Twenty-three other little boys were in the same busi- 
ness. They constituted the Fourth Standard, and the subject 
was Freehand Drawing. On an easel beside the teacher's desk 
hung a book of outline figures, open at Number Six, which was 
a Greek amphora. The Board School method of drawing an 
amphora was simply explained on a blackboard near the easeL 
You drew a centre line very lightly by repeated strokes of the 
pencil. Then you looked at your neighbour's efforts and com- 
pared notes in whispers. If you escaped detection, you pro- 
ceeded to draw cross-lines indicating the top, the middle, and 
^he narrow waist of the base, holding your rubber in the left 
hand and so making it unfit for use when most needed. Then 
you began to build upon this rectilinear scaffolding an approxi- 
mation of the copy on the easel. It is best to do one side first 
and then bring the other as near as you can to that. If yon 
had looked over Hannibal's shoulder you would have seen a 
shaky framework supporting a vague blob of rubbed-out pencil 
marks, several finger smudges, and a moist patch in the middle 
showing where Hannibal had been breathing hard. The 
handles had not yet been attempted. Hannibal never did 
attempt the handles of the copies. The teacher always gave 
the word " Line in ! " before he had disposed of the body to 
any one's satisfaction. When the order "Line in," came, yon 
rubbed out all you could of the scaffolding and the erratic tags 
of the figure, and wetting the blacUead with your tongue, bore 
down hard and hoped it would look all right. 

Having done one side, Hannibal blew out his cheeks, peeped 
over his neighbour's shoulder, looked at the clock, the copy, and 

the teacher, and partook of a pear-drop. 

80 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 87 

'' Yon said you 'adn't got any more," remarked his left-hand 
neighbour with some bitterness. 

"I ain't. Foun' it in me 'ank'chief/' mumbled the artist, 
squinting horribly with his head close to the paper. 

"Gahn*. I can see 'em/' was the retort, and Artist Number 
Two twisted round to pick up his india-rubber and incidentally 
take a view of Hannibal's coat pocket. The clever boy at draw- 
ing in the Fourth Standard sat at the end of the form, three boys 
away, and he now looked severely over the bent backs and 
whispered with a virtuous indignation intended for the teacher's 
ears, " Don't shake ! " 

I often wonder if those clever boys have ever got enough love 
from women to balance the black hatred that was handed out 
to them in their adolescence. 

Instantly the teacher pounced upon the inverted artist, hunt- 
ing, like some Congo native, for rubber. 

" What's the matter here? What 'yo' doing? Eh? Rubber? 
Get on with yo' work. There's nothing to rub out yet. Who's 
eating sweets? Gooderich, stand on the form. Eh? Stand 
on the form, I say ! " 

Nothing loath, Hannibal relinquished the amphora, and having 
swallowed the remains of the pear-drop as he raised his eyes 
in wondering innocence to the teacher's face, climbed upon the 
form. You can see him now, a tliin-legged stocky lad of eleven, 
his rather uninteresting features set in a mask of anger and 
contempt towards the industrious clever creature who had com- 
plained of some one shaking. It was the clever boy's custom 
to finish first, and then put up his hand ostentatiously. 

" Please, sir, can I line in? " 

This was to inform the class that once more he had out- 
stripped them in Art. The class had no objection to this. The 
whole shoot of them would have seen the clever boy burnt at 
the stake in a bonfire of his own drawings with loud hurrahs, 
but the reason would not have been his cleverness, but his insuf- 
ferable airs of superior friendliness with teacher. 

'* Please, sir, can I line in ? " Then the teacher would come 
round and lean ovfer him fondly and a whispered discussion 
would ensue, and boys farthest away would use the precious 
interlude to cram comestibles into their mouths and reduce them 
to invisible proportions before the teacher resumed his glare in 
front. 



88 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

This time the monumental figare on the form canght the 
teacher's eye as he turned to give the order. 

" Sit down and get on with yo' work, Gooderich. Line in 
now." 

And with much scuffling of india-rubberi much hitching into 
new positions, much rapping of pencils against teeth as they 
gazed, open-mouthed, at the snug perfection of the copy and 
tiieir own ghastly travesties of it, twenty-four little boys began 
to " line in." 

Hannibal had yet another misfortune before the lesson fin- 
ished. The teacher was passing behind him with that pecul- 
iarly obnoxious way teachers have, shuffling along side-ways to 
avoid collision with the artists who drew with their books at an 
angle. Hannibal was perspiring with his lining-in efforts. A 
partly-dissolved pear-drop lay on his tongue. The teacher 
leaned over benignantly to see what strange forms Hannibal had 
been evolving, and even condescended to flick a crumb of rub- 
ber from one corner. Several other crumbs lav about, and Han- 
nibal, anxious to assist the teacher in the good work, tried to 
blow them away. The elusive pear-drop only too readily slipped 
from its moorings, shot out upon the paper, and bounded into 
space. 

Tableau ! 

" Give them to me." 

With agony in his heart Hannibal produced a sticky bag of 
pear-drops. The teacher looked at them with a grimace and 
pointed to his desk. 

" Put them on there and go and stand in the comer." 

Strange to state, Hannibal Gooderich had no objection to 
standing in the corner. It provided him with a quiet spot in 
which he could take out his hatred of clever boys who could 
draw, and unfolding it, so to speak, examine it at leisure, adding 
fresh touches to the vision, devising new humiliations for the 
intellectuals of Trinity Road. He had no animus against the 
teacher. He, poor man, was paid to be a tyrant and a bully, 
and at half-past four his dominion ended for the day. Never 
having heard of a life without school, save in the frankly im- 
possible careers of Frank Read's heroes, Hannibal supposeid the 
teacher to be an unavoidable adjunct to terrestrial existence. 
But clever boys had no such justification. They were excres- 
cences, freaks, abominations. Board School boys are less tolr 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 89 

erant than any of " exceptional ability/' Many of those who 
possess it are not slow to disparage it. One boy who had won 
a scholarship of twenty pounds a year for three years, had 
worked for it under the impression that a munificent County 
Council was to hand him each year twenty pounds in cash to 
spend as he liked. His horror, when he realised that it meant 
more education, was only equalled by that of his parents, who 
immediately removed him from the clutches of the school au- 
thorities and placed him in Everard's Livery and Bait Stables, 
in Whitehart Lane. Hannibal used to hear of him, and see 
him too sometimes, astride of one horse and leading another, 
wearing breeches inconceivably tight at the knees and roomy 
at the hips, soft gaiters, and little black-and-white striped col- 
lars of india-rubber. What happiness! Hannibal and many 
others immured in the Trinity Boad dungeons used to think of 
that radiant being as one already in paradise, and modelled their 
own dreams of future bliss upon his legendary exploits. 

Hannibal had not long stood meditating in the corner when 
a hum of excitement communicated itself to the class. The 
Third Standard was on the move, the Fifth was to be heard 
tramping overhead, the Sixth, Seventh, and ex-Seventh were 
forming up against the great curtains that divided the room, and 
the head master came hurrying in with a baton in his hand (a 
"pointer" Hannibal called it), and conversed rapidly and in- 
tensely with the Fourth Standard master. 

A rehearsal of the operetta was impending. 

Lest the authorities should, however improbably, insert into 
the curriculum of the school some familiar and useful study, 
the teachers of the school, incited by a new head master who 
was extraordinarily keen on music, had formed the project of 
producing at the Assembly Hall an entirely new and original 
two-act operetta entitled A Life on the Ocean Blue. By cur- 
tailing the arithmetic and abolishing (temporarily) the reading 
classes, sufficient time was obtained to make a daily rehearsal 
practicable. This took place in a large room upstairs at the end 
of the day, and the romantic pseudo-Italian music effectually 
erased from the minds of the singers any ideas they may have 
intercepted during the day. 

Hannibal being bidden to return to his place and put his 
things away, the whole class stood to attention, left-turned, 
marked-time^ right-wheeled^ forwarded^ left-right, left-right^ up« 



90 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

stairs^ colliding with the Third Standard in the act of deploying 
to their accustomed seats by the windows, and finally subsided 
into the forms by the geological specimen case. The upper 
standards followed, occupying the centre, headed by the four 
illustrious creatures who had been selected, after heart-break- 
ing failures, to support the solo parts. Boy after boy had been 
haled to the piano and giyen a test-sheet of Tonic Sol-fa hier- 
oglyphics to interpret. Even Hannibal had been tried, and had 
excited considerable local interest by being unable to utter a 
single sound. 

" Sing Doh" said the teacher, and struck the lower C. 

Hannibal opened his mouth, but without result 

" Do you hear me? Sing D H! ** 

No sound, Hannibal standing strained and fish-like, with his 
mouth open. The teacher gave him a shove, the head master 
called the next victim, and Hannibal retired, disgraced and ter- 
ribly relieved, to his place. That was a month ago, and the daily 
practice had hammered something like harmony into the choruses, 
but the teachers were doubtless correct in giving themselves an- 
other three months in which to make the production perfect. 

Music is an art so generally diffused, so catholic in intention^ 
that even Board School boys regard musical folk without much 
misgiving. The four illustrious creatures who sustained the 
parts of the Captain, the Mate, and the two passengers t% route 
to a desert island, were not, so it happened, clever-dicks. They 
sang naturally well, and the solicitude of the teachers drove them 
to still higher accomplishments. But the great thing in their 
favour was that, willy-nilly, their performances gave pleasure. 
The clever boy who triumphed in German or Euclid, the egregious 
genius who bad whispered " Don't shake " that afternoon, or 
the intellectual freak who swept the board at essay writing, — 
what did all their cleverness amount to? Less than nothing. 
But the singers gave pleasure. They had a right to be superior 
if they wanted to. To a certain extent the rank and file wouldn't 
have minded if they could sing too. And when the day came, 
the great day at the Assembly Hall, they all mustered and 
joined in the cheering and felt very proud of the performers in* 
deed. 

Hannibal piped away all right in unison with a hundred and 
fifty other voices, and amused himself by singing what was 
known as " alto." Hannibal's trouble with treble was that every 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 91 

now and then the notes soared ont of range. If he descended 
an octave the lower notes bumped against his diaphragm. The 
" alto " which he patronised was an ingenious metliod of bal- 
ancing the harmony^ and giving body to the volume of sound. 
Where the treble note was high Hannibal sang low^ where the 
treble descended in the scale^ up went Hannibal to lah and tee, 
and it was a rigid rule that if 70a sang "alto" you had to 
finish on a rather flat fah or lah, while the trebles were pinned 
quivering on tlieir final doh. The effect was very pleasing to 
the singer. Strangely enough to Hannibal^ the head master and 
the teacher who played the piano made periodical raids on boys 
whom they suspected of this apparently harmless practice. In- 
deed, four had once been " smelled out " and placed in front of 
a blackboard with a song written on it> and they had been com- 
pelled to plough right through it again and again. Wliich made 
Hannibal very circumspect. He had in fact perfected a habit of 
moving his lips, and emitting a minimum of sound, for woe be- 
tide you if they caught you not singing. 

This afternoon Hannibal was fortunate in having an end seat 
dose to the bevelled plate-glass doors of a geological specimen 
case. Away on his left across the room the sun blazed through 
yellow blinds, and Hannibal, leaning back in his seat against 
the desk behind (two of the illustrious ones were singing a duet), 
moved his head to and fro and up and down in a curious way. 
This is one of the points where Hannibal slipped off the smooth 
and shining platform of commonplace accountability. He was 
imagining a vain thing, but a very comical one in his opinion. 
By moving his head in various odd ways, he made the distorted 
image of the head master beating time take on a multiplicity of 
shapes each more horrid than the last. There he was in that 
narrow bevel of the glass, waving, leaping, swelling, thinnings 
vanishing, looming, now all nose, now no nose at all^ now a super- 
cilious, long-faced saint, now a squat clawing Quasimodo, now a 
pallid angel in a prismatic fire-rimmed heaven, now a devil in a 
bright blue helL It was an absorbing game. . . . 

In the tolemn hourt of duty 
Out alone upon the deep, 

sang the Mate with considerable feeling, seeing he was only thir- 
teen years old^ and 



92 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

When the ttars ihoto forth their beauty, 
And the mighty world's aeleep! 

added the Skipper, which is just what a skipper would sing to 
his mate on a fine tropical night. And, just to show how in- 
significant shipowners and underwriters really are^ the two gal- 
lant young officers carolled together: 

Then our thoughts fly stoift to England 

O'er the wide blue realms of space, 
In some corner of the Homeland 

Find a welcome resting-place. 

And the ship apparently was left to her own devices, which ac- 
counts for the collision with a desert island and the ensuing 
second Act. 

Hannibal, engaged in the quest of the absolute in the bev- 
elled edge of the glass, took but little interest in the duet. Like 
the others, he had no tradition of the sea in his family to in- 
duce any interest in nautical things. Like them and all other 
Board School boys, he knew no English history, and very little 
geography. 

He had never seen the sea. 

But he had seen, in a vague and desultory way, that illimit- 
able ocean of unconscious Being in which he and all things else 
swam with half -blind staring eyes. In this ocean were neither 
teachers nor boys, neither mother nor father nor brother nor 
sister, only Shapes, while he himself moved silently among them 
a strained, tliinking Eye. His voyages in this mysterious me- 
dium had to be conducted with considerable circumspection, for 
the people in the Real World, the active and articulate pro- 
totypes of those same Shapes, were " dead against it" His fa- 
ther would chuck his chin sharply if he found him sitting in a 
study, and the pain of a bitten tongue, Hannibal found, was 
agonising. The teachers, arch enemies of the Ideal, thwacked 
him with unresilient pointers, banged him with fact-choked 
books, and Hannibal would awake, sore and chagrined^ stranded 
on the stony beach of the Actual. 

But since the rehearsal of the operetta, he had discovered that 
by the aid of music could he most easily slant away into that al- 
luring condition which I have tried to describe. Probably the 
identity of matter and form in music served as a sort of pier 
from which he could slip without efiTort into the subconscious 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 98 

world. I don't know. The psychology of reflective children is 
more complicated^ I believe^ than it appears. 

As the music went on^ as the duet was rehearsed again and 
again^ and the throats of the illustrious tenor Mate and alto 
Skipper grew drier and drier^ Hannibal's interest in the gyrat- 
ing image of the head master became more tenuous^ and his 
mind sank deeper and deeper into its trance. He found him- 
self observing with a detached and cynical complacency the 
movements of those intimate shapes^ his Family. They swam in 
and out of his visual range^ his mother — what an extraordinary 
creature his mother was down here! — his father and Bert 
and Minnie. Even in this mysterious region of silent Shapes^ 
Minnie was sedate and terrifying. She was rising all the time: 
each time Hannibal winked she still seemed to rise^'a pink 
shadow. Bert moved also^ but his movements were spasmodic, 
like a wasp on the *wing. His father moved from time to time> 
turning over and over in a curiously helpless way, yet manag- 
ing to avoid his wife, who was continually floating towards him. 
This happened so often that Hannibal grew interested. Wliy 
was his father moving like that? And his mother? It was like 
trying to clutch something that floated immersed in water, that 
movement of his mother. As you clutch, the thing swims away 
with the motion of your hand. So moved his father, clumsily 
and without poise, a volitionless fllm. 

The crash of the final chorus failed to arouse Hannibal fully. 
The entire school rose to its feet with the inevitable scuffles and 
kicks. The piano thundered the prelude, and then. 

The sea, the $ea, the stately sea 
The sailor's joy tDtll ever bee — ecf 
The sailor^s joy wUl ever bee — ee! 

Yd the boy sat, his back hard against the desk behind, en- 
tranced. He watched the Shape of his mother clutching, he 
watched the elusive thing he called his father evade and yet again 
evade that frantic embrace, and then — vanish. 

With three quick strides the head master was at his side and ^^^. 

raining down blows on his back, and he sprang up amazed. The 
chorus swept on — only a few boys could see what all the trouble 
was about. The head master pointed to the open space by the 
piano, and Hannibal took up his position there. 

The sea, the sea , , , the stately seal 
The sailor's joy will ev — er bee — ee! 



94 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



While the school was marching out squad by squad, the head 
master conferred, with some indignation, with the teacher who 
had been playing the piano and who therefore had missed the 
incident. 

" Disgusting, 'pon my word ! — Actually ! — Asleep ! — Public 
Spirit — wretched little shuffler ! " And so on. 

Hannibal, with downcast eyes, remarked that he was not 
asleep. 

" Oh, indeed, and what toere you doing then? " 

** Thinkin', sir," he replied, and the collected teachers guf- 
fawed, looking into their straw hats before putting them on. It 
was a joke. 

" Go on, get out of it, you shuffler ! " And Hannibal was 
kicked gently out of the way. He ran down the stairs, snatched 
his cap and satchel and made across the common to the Obelisk. 

It must not be supposed that Hannibal, ignorant of history 
and geography, had no knowledge of phenomena at all. On the 
contrary, his observation lessons had included birth, death, and 
corruption, the saving of life and the planting of a tree. Yet 
so chaotic was the social fabric in which he was immeshed that 
no one of his teachers or parents considered these things as in 
any way important. " Half -sharp ** the cockatoo voiced Lanca- 
shire teacher called him, '' balmy little kid *' according to Bert. 
But I myself am of a different opinion. That day when Hanni- 
bal stood rapt by the Obelisk cattle trough and watched Ike 
McGillies, the black-haired Irish boy, drown a starling, counting 
the bubbles of air as they rose; the day when a dozen or so of 
them, coming through the fields by Palace Gates Station, saw 
a mare in the throes of premature delivery; the ghastly discov- 
ery, in a ditch by Littler's Pond, of a maggoty dog, and subse- 
quently the skeleton; the gallant theft of a wee black kitten 
from a brutal vendor qf crockery; the transporting of a horse- 
chestnut just bursting into life from a dung-hill to the back gar- 
den: — all these things seem to me of importance in the growth 
of a human soul. Life and deaths the warm fur of the kitten 
against his check and the clammy horror of the dead terrier, 
these things little Hannibal had known even then, and they 
seemed to him to have some relation to that strange mood where 
swam the dim shapes of people and things. . . • 

And yet he was regarded as a shuffler, a witless inoabiiSj an 
desirable, a cypher* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 95 

Clear of houses^ be took his way along the road to which 
Queen Bess and her Stile gave a distinctive name in the days 
when Verulamium was still a noble patrimony. Here on the left 
the boy paused by an old farmhouse^ a decrepit building half- 
hidden by untidy trees> and flanked by ruined sheds. A vestige 
of the rural past^ it stood there among its burning heaps of 
manure^ backed by a great railway, fronted by a macadamed 
road^ squeezed in between a brick-field and sewage farm. Han- 
nibal paused on his homeward way to peer among the branches, 
— the house always seemed dead^ save for noises in the yard, 
and a rusty harrow by the gate made it mournful. Who lived 
there .^ Hannibal had been bom and brought up within a half- 
mile of it^ yet he knew nothing of that lonely farmer. Such 
was the spirit of the place, for at the bottom of the little hill 
where ran a brook, the brick houses began, and with brick houses 
the instinct of Locality becomes atrophied. In self-defence one 
is not too curious who lives next door. Hannibal had more 
than once been surprised to find the house next or next but one 
suddenly empty in the morning, the children he had played with 
vanished^ and his mother's door besieged by bilked tradesmen 
with, sometimes, a non-committal policeman. Only Mrs. Gay- 
nor was always there, observant at the window, smiling. 

The sight of a policeman holding the Inspector's horse out- 
side the red-brick station induced a fresh line of thought in Han- 
nibal's mind. Why did they wear blue? Soldiers wore red in 
those days. Red, white, and blue, eh? Who ought to wear 
white? Angels, perhaps? 

Bahny little kid! 



XVI 

OF Mr. Gooderich himself^ a word or two here will in no 
wise be amiss. He was a tradesman^ which to the initi- 
ated means a man who has served an apprenticeship 
to a trade. His skill in that trade was very moderate. 
He had a slow methodical manner^ he was careful and con- 
scientious^ and thereby gained a surer reputation than was 
enjoyed my men of greater skill and energy. This manner was 
the outcome of his view of life. He was a conservative working- 
man. He was a faithful and reliable member of the " Mais/' 
which is the Amalgamated Society of Engineers^ and he set 
his face like flint against the slightest broadening of its basis 
'or the most trifling extension of its powers. He was interested 
in racing and^ as football grew into the national life, he, like 
many Conservatives, bought tlie Morning Leader (only they 
called it differently) for that joumaFs excellent reports of the 
game. But I doubt if he ever read tlie political articles. His 
conservatism was not of that sort. It was fixed, steadfast, 
founded on a rock, the rock of obstinacy. He saw things hap- 
pening, yet he lacked intelligence to infer the inevitable results. 
Like the pike in the aquarium, he struck his head again and 
again against the invisible sheet of glass, yet never connected the 
glass and the blow in thought. No, his conservatism needed 
more than a leading article to pierce it. " Radical Fudge " was 
his placid comment on views more porous and ductile than his 
own. I think " the Empire " made him feel at times, because 
he once talked of " goin' out " to the Colonies. But the thought 
of " or Inglan' " which is the obverse of the Imperial medal> 
held him to his vice at McMuirland*s and the book-maker at the 
comer of Red-cross Street. 

He was temperate, kindly in a fatuous way to his children, 
just to his wife while in employ, truthful in an unintelligent 
fashion, yet with all this he gave me an impression of despair. 
He could not move with the times. He presented a spectacle, 
even in his early married days, of inarticulate protest against 
a world that was moving, in spite of him, from vestries to 

municipalities, from private firms to syndicates^ from thousands 

96 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 07 

to millions^ from mnddlers to men. He attributed all the fail- 
ures of the " Mais " to their lack of trust in the masters; He 
loved dogs^ and he had much of the faithful dog's nature. He 
would lick the hand that smote him. He was an improver when 
the men "went out" in the Ferry Road^ and he made the one 
passionate exhibition of his life when he rose amid cheers and 
jeers to denounce the calling out of the apprentices who had 
taken the men's places in the yard, and so had defeated the 
very end for which he fought. It was brutal and cruel, he 
shouted, to spoil those lads' career in a grown-man's quarrel. 
And you couldn't make him see his folly. He was Pym, Hamp- 
den, Haselrig, Hollis, and Strode all rolled into one that freez- 
ing, frenzied afternoon. And when he had carried the day, he 
went back to his obscurity and never again emerged. A rather 
cantankerous man, if you were a person with growing pains in 
your head. 

He remained year after year at the bench, while younger 
men raced past him, perfectly content in the sphere in which 
it had pleased God to put him. He believed in God just as he 
had his .superstitions about the ace, number seventeen, and the 
power of Tottenham Hotspurs to lift the Cup. He was one 
of those men who would have made admirable conservative 
licenced victuallers, if the God they respect so highly had 
bestowed a small capital upon them. I can see him, comfort- 
ably established at Weymouth, or Somewhere-on-Sca, owning one 
or two blocks of slum property off Jubilee Street (the tenants 
hailing from Lithuania, Courland, and Esthonia), reading the 
Daily Telegraph, temperately zealous in charitable affairs, yet 
fearful of " pauperising," which he understood to be the mean- 
ing of '' panem et circenses/* an increasingly portly patriot, 
recommending young men to join the army or " go out " to South 
Africa, a prosperous and valuable burgess. Now and again, I 
imagine, he himself had had a glimpse of this Arcady, tliis tavern 
by the sea (forty minutes from London, frequent trains), and 
had made furtive efforts to acquire a certain capital. He cer- 
tainly lost a considerable sum on the favourite, that terrible year 
when Jeddah won the Derby. He was at his bench, as usual, 
when old Hack, who had been using his privilege as messenger 
to converse with the paper-man at the comer of Goswell Road, 
sidled past him and murmured " Sufferin' Moses ! A renk aht- 
sider. Jack. Jedder — never 'eard o' the 'orse afore ! " Good- 



98 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

erich hung his head over his job. And his wife was pinched for 
some weeks for money. 

At another time, heated to a dull glow by stories circu- 
lating in the shops concerning the possibilities of building soci- 
eties^ and the phenomenal success of a former shopmate, he had 
formed a resolution to save. Even his wife had grown a little 
excited about it^ 'Erbcrt being about to save; and had been 
damped by the American woman's remark^ " Before you can 
save^ you must have something to save." They found that 
remark true enough^ and 'Erbert resumed losing half a dollar on 
a horse every Saturday, and applauding the 'Spurs when they 
pushed a football through the thorax of every other team in the 
Southern League. And then a penny-weekly offered five hundred 
a year and a freehold cottage to the person who could win a word- 
competition^ and the first instalment seemed so easy that the 
sky was rosy with hope and the 'Spurs retreated to the back- 
ground for a while. But they were soon back again^ and the 
prize went to some one in Van Dicmen's Land. . . . 

And in the meantime, while he was busy with these fiddling 
things^ the world moved on. Little by little the work on which 
he had spent his time was transferred to automatic machines 
made in Germany and America^ great technological institutions 
arose in the Metropolis from whose doors poured every year 
swarms of young men pale from night-study^ qualified to deal 
with the newer methods and later mechanism. £ver3nvhere was 
being preached the gospel of Efficiency. New managers erected 
glass observation boxes in the very shop where he worked^ handed 
him explanatory literature anent new systems of working, 
whereby he might earn more money. But Gooderich never earned 
more money^ rather less, for the new system expected quicker 
work, quicker calculations of time taken and fractions of pence. 
He resented the new-fangled time-keeping. He resented every- 
thing new. Everywhere now were young men. ** Too old at 
forty " began to reverberate in the Press. Gooderich was startled, 
looked at himself in the glass. Something must be done. He 
must make a definite effort to get out of the rut. Things could 
not go on like this. For awhile there was another dull glow. 

The next day he had purchased a bottle of hair-dye. 

Mr. Gooderich was at home when his daughter entered and 
hung up her hat and jacket. He stood in his shirt-sleeves by 
the mantelpiece of the front room filling his pouch from the 



V 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 99 

shag-box. His head was turned over his right shoulder in the 
direction of his wife. They had been discussing her^ apparently. 
Mr. Gooderich was saying dogmatically: 

" Give 'er 'er 'ead and she'll soon get winded." Minnie set 
her face in a mask and entered the room, eyes downcast^ one 
hand patting her hair as though she had been away but a few 
moments. 

** 'UUo ! " said her father^ screvring his head a little farther 
round. "Got the bag, I 'ear?" 

** Yes, and got another job/' she replied quietly, taking a 
needle and thread from a cigar-box on the sidetable. Her motlier 
looked up quickly and watched her repairing a small rent in her 
skirt. 

"Really?" 

" Really, all right." 

" What sort o' job? " asked her father suspiciously. 

It is one of the characteristics of these people to doubt every 
word you say. 
Shorthand." 
In the City?" 

" Yes." 

" Didn't know you could write it.*' 

" I shouldn't like to make a list of all the things you don't 
know about me, father," she answered, bending all her atten- 
tion to the repair of the rent. Mr. Gooderich regarded the 
top of his daughter's head. Mrs. Gooderich lifted her hand 
in alarm. 

"Oh," he remarked at length. "And whose fault is that?" 

" Yours, I should think. You never ask." 

"If that's the way you talk to your boss, I don't wonder 
you got the bag. Course, I'm only your father, so I s'pose it 
don't matter. So long's you keep yourself, you can please your- 
self." He turned to get his coat. 

" That's all right," said Minnie, though whether she referred 
to the rent or her father's words nobody ever knew. She put 
the needle and thread away and went out of the room. She 
heard her father in the hall, the striking of the match, the 
sound of her mother's voice, too low to distinguish. And then 
her father. 

" Not me!^ Tou brought 'er up, didn't you? Well then, bring 
her down. She flies too 'igh for me. She's yours." 



«« 



100 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

And he went out and shut the door behind hun. Minnie 
heard her mother mounting the stairs. 

** You mustn't mind your father, child, he's worried to death/' 
began Mrs. Gooderich. " He don't mean 'alf he says." 

** He means very little then," commented Minnie. " What's 
he worried about ? " 

" His job. He's had several short weeks, and there's no new 
engines layin' down, he says, and thinks they may pay him 
off." 

" Well, there's other shops." 

" Jobs aren't so easy got, after you're fifty," replied her 
mother. " What's this job you've got? " 

" A lady author wants an assistant, or something like that. 
Don't ask me whether it'll be any good. I'm not sure myself 
yet. I'll try it and see." 

" Well, that's a nice way to talk. What's the wages? " 

" Twelve, same as before. I beat her up to that anyway. 
Trust me, mother. Your own little girlie can look after herself." 

Mrs. Gooderich looked distressed. 

** Where're you goin* ? " she asked, for Minnie was arranging 
her hair after a wash. 

" Mrs. Gay nor 's. She put me on to this job, so I must run 
in and tell her about it. Shan't be long." 

Going downstairs in the dark Minnie almost fell over some 
obstacle on the bottom step. 

" Wliat's that? What'you doing there, Hanny ? " 

" Nothin'." 

Minnie fetched some matches and lit the hall lamp. Hannibal, 
seated on the stair, was tying a piece of twine round tlie neck 
of a jam-pot; a piece of bamboo lay beside him. 
Fishin'? " Minnie was in a good humour. 
Urn," responded the boy. 

A lot you catch ! " observed his sister, and went out into the 
dusk. Hannibal made a face. 

The string adjusted, he scrambled to his feet, grabbed his 
rod and followed her through the door. His mother, close 
behind, watched him scuttling away down the road into the 
obscurity of Walker's Woods. Mrs. Gooderich sighed. Do her 
duty as she might, she seemed unable to hold either the fear or 
the affection of her children. They just took no notice. There 



« 
«< 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 101 

was Minnie now, away chatting with a neighbour instead of con- 
fiding in her own mother. 

Mrs. Gooderich stood at the gate for a few minutes in deep 
thought^ and then decided to ** run in " herself to Mrs. Gaynor's 
and assist in the discussion ! Closing the door gently until it was 
almost latched^ she went along to the next house but one, and 
immediately beheld her daughter and Mrs. Gaynor sitting in the 
uncurtained room^ their faces illiunined by a gas-jet with an opal 
globe. Gas-stoves had come in then, but the incandescent mantle 
lay in the future. And this clear and distinct scene, visible to all 
who went along Maple Avenue^ disturbed Mrs. Gooderich very 
much. She had an instinctive horror of this sort of publicity. 
No matter how torrid the weatlier, Mrs. Gooderich would not 
drink even a cup of tea in her back garden^ — the neighbours 
might see. As for taking a chair and sitting in the front room 
with no curtains and a blazing lights it was " strange/' and she 
had spent a good part of her intellectual existence and energy 
in avoiding anything strange. 

So she hurried up Mrs. Gaynor 's tiled path as quickly as she 
could and tapped at the door. And immediately Mrs. Gaynor, 
aproned and hospitable, stood before her. 

"Well, now, if that isn't just what I was wishing! Come 
right in, Mrs. Gooderich. We're having a nice quiet discussion." 
She stooped and straightened a corner of the coconnut matting in 
the " hall-way," " so bare you wouldn't believe," Mrs. Gooderich 
was wont to comment of it. Tliey went in, and to her motlier's 
surprise, Minnie did not scowl at the sight of her. Mrs. Gajmor 
seemed to have tlie faculty of erasing scowls from people's faces. 

The room, certainly in a suburban view, was scantily furnished. 
The " mantel " as its owner called it, carried nothing but a plain 
black marble clock, the walls were hung with two or three incon- 
spicuous engravings. There was a sideboard, or in Mrs. Good- 
erich's terminology, a chiffonier witli the accent on the last syl- 
lable, a small table supported a small case of books, a table and 
four rush-bottomed chairs, on one of which Minnie was seated. 
Mrs. Gaynor herself had been sitting in a deep rocking-chair, 
almost a curiosity in England in those days. She offered this to 
Mrs. Gooderich, but it was too strange for her, she preferred 
something with four legs. As she sat down and folded her hands, 
she caught sight of little Hiram Gaynor seated on a " hassock " 



102 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

by the window reading a book* The boy looked np and smiled^ 
and Mrs. Gooderich regarded him with renewed perplexity. He 
was wearing a blue jersey which came up close round his neck^ 
and his rounds healtliy little face was crowned with a shock of 
tangled hair that seemed never to be combed. His knicker- 
bockers were open at the knee, a style old-fashioned even then, 
for straps and box-cloth finishings were in Iiigh favour for boys' 
clothes. But Mrs. Gaynor did not believe in putting a child into 
plate-armour, and made Hiram's knickerbockers herself out of 
navy serge. 

Mrs. Gooderich returned his smile, and asked him what he 
was reading. He said it was a book. 

" I'm sure I wish my Hanny 'ud sit do¥m with a book in the 
evening. He just runs wild. Gone fishin' now." Hiram's book 
closed, and he favoured Mrs. Gooderich with a gaze of intense 
interest. 

" Is that so? " he asked. " Ma, can I go fishin'? " 

"Oh, I s'pose you can, child. I don't reckon you'll do the 
fish much damage, anyway." 

** Where's he gone, Mrs. Gooderich ? Littler's ? " 

" I expect so. Down the Bowes Road, anyhow. But I won- 
der you allow it, Mrs. Gaynor. They only spoil their clothes." 

" He's none to spoil," smiled that lady, reseating herself in 
the rocking-chair. 

It seemed strange to Mrs. Gooderich, allowing a child to do 
what he wanted. She didn't approve of such laxity. 

" Be in by eleven, child." 

" Sure, Ma." And tlie model child vanished. 

"Well, what d'you think of ^ this young woman now, Mrs. 
Gooderich ? " asked Mrs. Gaynor. " She's got a position quick 
enough." 

" I can't think how you're goin' to keep yourself and dress 
yourself and pay rail-fare, all on twelve shillings a week ? " Mrs. 
Gooderich replied, looking at Iier daughter. 

" To start," said Minnie. " I was just tellin*, Mrs. Gaynor 
thought, that Mrs. Wilfley wants me to live in, and she recom- 
mends it." 

** Live in," said her mother blankly. Living in was associated 
in her mind with drapery emporiums, celibacy, and ultimate 
disaster. 

" Mrs. Wilfley doesn't keep a dry goods store," Mrs. Gaynor 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 108 

▼olunteered. "Wliat she wants is a companion^ I s'pose you'd 
call it^ some one to live with her and do little chores in connec- 
tion with her profession." 

" Chores ? " This again was an unfortunate word^ a strange 
word^ a vague alarming word. 

"An assistant, mother/' added Minnie impatiently. "What 
I want is a diance. If I don't get on with Mrs. Wilfley, I'll 
get out^ but anyhow I'll have a chance to look round and p'raps 
see some other job with better pay. And I can't expect a big 
screw until I've learned the business, can I ? " 

" No, I s'pose not. I do hope it'll be all right." 

** It will be all right/' asserted the lady in the rocking-chair. 
*' Mrs. Worrall is very successful in satisfying her clients." 

"Why, from what she said, I thought she'd have a job too, 
sometimes/* remarked Minnie. 

"What was that?" 

''She said her clients wanted their servants to come from 
the aristocracy, and as for companions, she said they had to 
belong to the aristocracy. I suppose she meant poor relations." 

" She was talking sarcastic. If she recommends a young 
woman, even if ahe hasn't any experience, Mrs. WorraU can 
place her in good positions. But she would not recommend you, 
because I told her sometliing of your character in my letter." 

"Why, did you tell her ?" began Mrs. Gooderich in 

dismay. A recital of Minnie's recent behaviour was tanta- 
mount, in her mother's opinion, to a bad character. 

" The truth/' said Mrs. Gaynor simply. " But in a general 
way. No details. I didn't know them." 

"Did you tell her I was strong-minded?" asked the girl 
maliciously. 

" Surely. That was most important. If you like you can 
read the letter. I always copy my letters." 

Singular spectacle ! A widow with business habits ! 

Mrs. Gaynor rose and went to a drawer in the sidetable and 
took out a thick letter book. Placing a sheet of white paper 
under the last letter but one she handed it to Mrs. Gooderich. 

Minnie leaned over. 

This was the letter. 



104 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

10, Maple Avenue, 
New Soutiioatb, N. 

Dear Olivia Worrall, 

The young woman who bears this letter to you is a char- 
acter. She has, I do believe, missed her vocation. She works in 
a factory. She ought to have gone to college and entered a pro- 
fession, but in this benighted country a woman doesn't even know 
what a college education means. 

Where could she get instruction? 

She has a mighty lot to learn, Vm aware, and learn it she will, 
if she gets a chance. But we mustn't expect gratitude for helping 
her. She's a cast-iron image as far as other folks are concerned, 
though influenced easily enough in the right way. Most girls 
think they know twice as much as their mother: this young 
woman thinks she knows twenty times as much. 

Sometimes you'd almost believe she did! 

II er young man worried her to death because he thought she 
smoked. She just chased him out of the district so he U never 
come back. Her employers gave her notice last week, and here 
she is planning another scheme for raising money. 

She's a problem, isn't she, now? 

It wouldn't do any real harm to recommend her for a rich 
woman's companion, though it might ruin your business. The 
rich woman and the young one would be the better for it. But I 
don't suppose you're so rich you want to offend anybody yet, so 
you'll just have to use your judgment. 

Perhaps you'll rouse up and tell me how you're getting on. I 
had a newspaper from Alvard the other day — he's still in St, 
Louis — and there is a paragraph in it saying Adelaide is in 
charge of the City Hospital for Children. 

That girl's a real credit to her country. 

Your old friend, 

Ann Butterick Gay nor. 

^frs. Gooderich looked at Minnie, and Minnie looked at Mrs. 
Gooderich. And then they both looked at Mrs. Gaynor, who was 
looking out into the summer night. 

" Well," she said, without changing her position. ** Don't you 
like tliat letter ? " 

" It's a funny character you've given me, Mrs. Gaynor," said 
Minnie. 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 105 

"Mrs. Worrall's a very smart woman. I guess she took a 
pretty complete inventory of you while she was talking to you." 

" It's a wonder she didn't send you packin'/' said Mrs. Good- 
erich, putting the letter-book on the table. "I only hope it'll 
turn out all right." 

" Oh, it wUl, sure." 

Mother and daughter rose. 
She'll want some clothes/' said Mrs. Gooderich. 
Let her earn them," said Mrs. Gaynor, going over to a shelf 
In the corner and taking a spirit-lamp from a shelf. " Sit right 
down now and I'll make some beef -tea." 

By beef-tea Mrs. Gaynor meant beef-extract as made by Liebig. 
In a few minutes a copper kettle was on the boil, three large cups 
received their modicum of the dark, sickly-smelling compound 
and the needful boiling water. 

" I like this," said Minnie, taking her cup. Mrs. Gooderich 
liked it too, but she did not say so. Her breakfast had been 
liver and bacon and tea, her dinner stewed kidneys, her tea 
bread and butter and cheap jam made of turnips and animal 
jelly, and so, according to Mrs. Gaynor's peculiar view, the 
poor woman had had nothing to eat all day. Bdth mother and 
daughter were the better for the concentrated nourishment in 
the extract, and the dry biscuit, to their astonishment, was 
delicious. 

They began to talk afresh, discussing the situation in all its 
bearings. Then they went on to Bert's prospects, Bert who was 
scarcely ever at home, who was walking out with a girl now, but 
who was more set than ever on joining the Army. Who was 
the girl? Mrs. Gaynor enquired, and Mrs. Gooderich had to 
confess that Bert was inclined to be " light." It had been Ethel 
Tunier, big, hoydenish Ethel Turner, of whom Mrs. Gooderich 
did not approve. But occasionally other ^ames illuminated the 
dark and taciturn soul of her elder son. Mrs. Gooderich was 
not hopeful about him. She didn't want him to go for a soldier, 
bat he had small prospects at the furniture shop. He was going 
on sixteen now and he ought to be settled to something. But he 
would talk of nothing but the Army, and his father " encouraged " 
him. As if a boy had any prospects in the Army! Mention of 
her husband led Mrs. Gooderich to talk of his despondent mood 
caused by so many short weeks. Money got very tight when a 
man drew so little. Trade was slack, very. There had been 



10« CASUALS OF THE SEA 

mmours of a big job from the Government^ bjit a North-East 
Coast firm had got it. Mr. Gooderich had dropped the idea of 
emigrating^ but he seemed to fancy work was more plentiful up 
Tyneside way. She didn't want to go away. She had got used 
to London. But what was the use? — they couldn't live on 
air. 

Mrs. Gaynor just let her talk, and the woman's mind was 
eased of its load. That Mrs. Gaynor had any troubles of her 
own never entered either of her visitor's heads. Why, she 
owned her house, freehold ; people said she had " property/' mort- 
gages, shares, and such-like mysterious tokens. How could she 
have any troubles. Even Mary Gooderich, simple and warped 
of mind as she was, felt that the " bareness " of Mrs. Gaynor's 
minage was due to her peculiar American ideas and not to pov- 
erty. And Minnie, whose intellect was fifty times keener Uian 
her mother's, knew that this quiet lady was right, and their own 
way of existence was disastrously wrong. How to change it? 
Well, thought the girl, there was Mrs. Wilfley for a start. Her 
mother had no 'such ray of hope. She looked down at the green 
rugs on the linoleum wood-block flooring, which was bees-waxed 
until it shone, and felt nothing beyond the relief of having a soul 
to speak to who seemed to understand her troubles. So she 
talked, and Minnie interpolated now and then, and Mrs. Gaynor 
listened with nods of comprehension, and they felt their excite* 
ment calmed and the future less vague. 

These two spirits, so temperamentally different, the one pus* 
zled and wayworn, tiie other aggressively and indomitably young, 
became permeated by the mysterious quality of silent human sym- 
pathy, as, slowly but surely, it exercised its sublime yet invisible 
functions. 



" Good gracious me ! Mrs. Gaynor, it's nearly eleven o'clock. 
Come on, Minnie." 

" Well, I'm very glad you came in, Mrs. Gooderich. It does 
me good to talk about one's troubles. I know that." 

" Yes, I s'pose you've had troubles like the rest of us. Who's 
that comin' in the gate? I believe it's your little boy. He it a 
good child. Back before eleven." 

They filed out into the hall, where a single gas jet burned 
low, by the " hall stand." The door was open, and Hiram sprang 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 10* 

across the mat and caught hold of his mother as she was turning 
out the light. 

'' Sakes, child^ what is it now ? '' 

"Oh^ Ma!" the boy ejaculated^ and looked at Mrs. Goode- 
rich as though numbed. 

" What — anything happened to Hanny ? ** wailed Mrs. Goode- 
rich^ and Minnie looked sternly at the little jerseyed figure with 
the tumbled hair. 

"Eh?" asked his mother. 

" No, Hanny — he's all right 'nuff . He's down — down there 
now. He's cryin', he is." 

" What ails you, Hiram? What's he crying for? " 

"There's — there'« a man in the brook," stuttered the boy, 
looking earnestly at his mother. "I — I reckon he's dead, I do." 

*' Oh ! " said Minnie, and Mrs. Gooderich moaned. 

** Are you sure, Hiram? " asked Mrs. Gaynor. 

" Ask Hanny. He's there now — in the dark — cryin'." 

"Mrs. Gooderich," said Mrs. Gaynor, "let Minnie go to the 
police office with Hiram and we'll go on down the road. I 
thought you were going to Littler's," she added, to Hiram. 

" So we did. We were comin' back by Old Southgate to hear 
the bells. We caught three fish, we did." 

" There, go on now, and we'll put on our bonnets." 

"Come on, Hiram," said Minnie, in a lo^, cold voice; "take 
my hand." They went out and across the road where a row of 
lime-trees bordered the half side-walk, and made it dark as a 
tunnel. The moon had risen, and the road was a broad highway 
of silver. 

" Couldn't you see who it was, Hiram? " asked Minnie, in the 
same low voice. " Couldn't you see? " 

" Yes," choked Hiram, nearly strangled by excitement^ run- 
ning, and possibly fear. 

"Who was it, then?" 

" Your pa," replied Hiram. 



At the time of this narrative, the Apple-tree Inn, situated on 
the northern side of Southgate Green, was an almost unique 
example of the old-style tavern: unique, that is, in Middlesex. 
For even then the craze for rebuilding had seized the breweries, 
even then comfortable old bar-parlours were being swept away 



108 CASlTALS OF THE SEA 

and horrid new high-ceilin||red edifices were taking their place. 
But the " Apple/' being off the great highways out of London, 
and situated some two miles from a railway station, stood immune^ 
and, as one crossed the green, the deep ruby red of the parlour 
curtains, the tall sign swinging on a pole across the road, the big 
roomy stables and old wooden horse-trough, made up a picture 
comforting to man and beast, and was amply corroborated by 
the hospitality dispensed within. Certainly a sane and kindly 
hand had been laid upon the house: witness the snug billiard- 
room at the back and the domestic jug-cubicle next the stables. 
But the very heart and soul of an inn, the fountain of its per- 
manence and prosperity, the parlour, remained in sedate security, 
a haven of rest and refreshment for the traveller and habitu6 
alike. 

You entered this delectable chamber through a small porch 
in the lane running north-easterly to Chase Side, the inner door 
opening inwards like any door at home. An oblong room it was, 
with red plush seats round the outer sides, a fireplace where a 
real fire crackled and flamed o' winter nights, and a small bar 
communicating with the general dispensary beyond but screened 
from vulgar gaze. Here perhaps some fifteen people might sit 
in quiet seclusion, passing one another the glass water-jug, for 
soda was not in vogue as it is now. One or two couples (en- 
gaged) would be found there, he drinking gin, she port wine. 
Ladies, married or engaged, generally unbent, so far as to remove 
a glove, raise the veil above the eyes, and perhaps even adjust a 
garter, so select and quiet was this room. Young sparks rarely 
frequented it; perhaps on Saturday night (a bad night for the 
select) the bar would fill with frivolity, and regular patrons 
would sit, glass on knee and cigar raised upwards, somewhat 
jostled, but equable of temper, waiting until the unwelcome tide 
had ebbed away homeward. 

The walls were panelled and so heavily varnished that the 
original graining was lost in the general duskiness of the glaze, 
and furnished a perfect background for the pictures, a set of 
black-framed engravings^ Hogarth's own, of Mariage h la Mode. 
They were an admirable comment, these cruelly clever drawings^ 
upon the actual contrasted with the visible life led by the select 
and serious couples and parties who sat drinking, little finger 
stuck genteelly outwards, beneath them. One could have wished 
that sardonic genius to have stepped in some evening, that he 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 109 

might have got the one glimpse necessary for him to project 
another series, brought up to date. 

Who knows ? The *' Apple Tree " was there before him. The 
present scribe would die happy if he could but know that he 
had been forestalled. 

Let him not forget one incontrovertible proof of the respect* 
ability of the patrons. Every one knew the pictures were worth 
*' a pot o' money." Yet they remained unmolested cm their 
hooks, and there, I hope, they remain to this day. 

In order to reach the " Apple " from his home, Mr. Gooderich> 
an intermittent habitue, took the road which descends with dan- 
gerous steepness into the valley dividing the two parishes, crosses 
the stream at the bottom and mounts with even greater precipi- 
tousness the eastern hill, passing between the grey spired church 
and the Chapel Fields, and debouching upon the Green. It 
would be difficult to discover in any of the villages environing 
London a lane mbre secluded by foliage and high walls or one 
terminating in a more rural and charming vista. To-night, as 
Mr. Gooderich passed the permanently muddy bottom and began 
the stiff climb to the church, the trees overarched it so completely 
that the moon might have been not yet risen, so dense and 
palpable was the gloom. On either side between the walls that 
form the distinctive feature of rural London stretched tliickets 
and woodlands amidst which you might find a number of man- 
sions whose policies, for some mysterious reason, are traversed 
by numerous public footpaths. 

Mr. Gooderich was no longer a yoimg man, and the climb 
winded him, so that he paused a moment by the church, looked 
up at the gold face of the clock, adjusted his IngersoU, and 
permitting for one brief instant the tiny grain of poetry in his 
soul to diffuse and emerge, waited for the striking of the hour. 
The Chapel Fields were bathed in a blinding bath of moon- 
light; but he stood in the deep shade of the yew hedge in front 
of the diurch. The chime of this church was justly celebrated 
for its penetrating sweetness. Little Hannibal had discovered 
this, all by himself, one wintry evening. And here was his 
father protracting his arrival at the " Apple Tree " by waiting to 
hear the chime. 

Mr. Gooderich's mind was sanguine with hope, and it was 
characteristic of him to be short and surly with his wife at 
such a time. These people — but why should I mount a pedestal^ 



no CASUALS OF THE SEA 

since right up through all the grades of our social fabric^ men 
act thus detestably to their women. Nor should I Uame the 
man at all since, in tills particular case, since the unusual and 
piquant cause of his hope has been barred to women for gen- 
erations. 

The fact was that Mr. Gooderich was attacked at intervals 
by fits of optimism, as when he resolved to save, when he hoped 
to win that five pounds a week and a house, when he dyed his 
hair and worked for a foreman's berth. These fits had burned 
up, flared, flickered, and gone out. He believed that pre-em- 
inence in life was a matter of luck. Look at Jeddah, that rank 
outsider! But this time he believed he was about to tread a 
way of fortunate security. Why hadn't he thought of it before? 
Well, you see, he hadn't been in the way of it much, and more- 
over he hadn't got acquainted with Mr. Julius Fife. Mr. Fife 
it was who, seated side by side with Mr. Gooderich in the 
** Apple Tree " parlour, had discussed the hardness of times, the 
decay of old England, and the transcendent advantages of being 
" in " something. Why had he, Mr. Gooderich, never been ** in " 
anything? He was in his trade union, he retorted, but Mr. Fife 
had waved that way away with a single flick of his fingers. 
That was all well enough in its place, a very low place, according 
to Mr. Julius Fife. Had he never thought of joining himself 
with his fellow-men in one great universal brotherhood? Mr. 
Gooderich never had, and it may be stated baldly that he never 
would. Though he was now on his way, sanguine with hope, 
to discuss with Mr. Fife the possibility and manner of his initia- 
tion into Mr. Fife's Lodge, the notion of joining any fraternity 
for the pious purpose of helping others never entered his head. 
He had every intention, if luck favoured him, of jumping on 
others and stamping their faces into the ground, if he could 
improve his position thereby. Mr« Julius Fife's aspirations were 
pure and undefiled, no doubt I do not know him very well^ 
and he is welcome to the benefit of the doubt. But I knew Mr. 
Gooderich like the back of my hand, and I can assert tliat he 
was entirely innocent of philanthropic sentiments. The Great 
Architect of the Universe would have been nonplussed to find 
him a suitable job in the Temple. His talents lay in other 
directions. 

The deep mellow boom of the great bell thrilled through the 
shining night as be stood in the shadow of the yew hedge, and 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 111 

ihe heart of the man was uplifted. And then the chime — Cling 
— clang — ding — clang — cling — cling — clang — clang, was 
followed by eight solemn strokes. 

Mr. Gooderich made his way across Southgate Green. 

He found his friend Mr. Julius Fife^ a man of spare frame^ 
plain yet expensive raiment and neat personal habits. He was 
a gentleman of the Trade^ but the house over which he had 
presided with considerable success had been deprived of its license 
on some frivolous pretext^ and Mr. Fife was a gentleman at 
large until the brewer who paid him a hundred a year and a 
bonus could find him another sphere for his activity. The most 
salient prejudice of Mr. Fife's mind was his wolfish ferocity 
towards those bigoted gentlemen who had persisted in interpret- 
ing a license as a document of merely annual validity. Accord- 
ing to Mr. Fife^ a license was as eternally valid as a fiat from 
God — indeed, had he had the duty of bearing his license^ en- 
graved on tables of stone, from out of the thunder of Sinai, he 
would never have broken it. His mind^ as I have intimated, was 
warped in its attitude towards the justices, "a party of old 
womei) " none of whom had any real living financial interest in 
the Trade^ and who actually thought three public-houses in fifty 
yards of street an excessive number. Ah — h^ these Radicals: 
for Mr. Fife the Liberal Party had no existence. Like the Globe 
newspaper^ he knew only Radicals, who read " Radical Rags." 
This alliterative animadversion acted as a sedative on minds like 
Mr. Fife's. And it was an apparent and curious fact that the 
words Trade and Union, taken apart, thrilled Mr. Fife to the 
core of his being, but when coupled together these roused in his 
soul a ferocity even more wolfish than did the benighted magis- 
trates. Such was the person, amiable enough in exterior, who 
nodded good evening to Mr. Gooderich as the latter entered the 
decorous precincts of the " Apple Tree ** parlour. 

The community of interest which had led these two gentle- 
men to fraternise was racing. Mr. Gooderich's personal ac- 
quaintance with race-horses was as intimate as his knowledge of 
elands and spotted lemurs^ though he watched their form with a 
tenacity of purpose and a fatigue of brain sufficient to carry him 
successfully to the head of the Wrangler's List at Cambridge. 
Mr. Fife, on the other hand, was acquainted with Newmarket 
He had, as a matter of fact, spent two years as a bar-tender 
in a public-house in that very sleepy little township, and been 



112 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

very glad indeed to exchange its rural atmosphere for the more 
garish delights of the Brompton Road. Moreover^ so admir- 
ably organised^ so extraordinarily discreet, is every one engaged 
in the racing profession, from the photographers in the High 
Street to the stable-urchins in the football-field^ that one may 
live, even as a potman^ for years in the town, and never glean 
a " tip ** worth twopence. But Mr. Fife did not tell his com- 
panion this. He subnMtted tacitly to the implication that while 
at Newmarket he was in the confidence of every trainer and 
manager wlio took a brandy and soda from his hands. As for 
the horses, he knew them all by sight — saw them every day. 
So he did, at six in the mornings each animal so swathed and 
top-coated that it might have been a Zebra for all Mr. Fife knew 
to the contrary. 

Starting from so felicitous a theme, the pair, during several 
informal rencounters at the "Apple Tree," had pursued their 
way among the myriad problems which beset our modern life, 
and had discovered such compatibility of temperament that Mr. 
Fife had cast aside the toga of the Trade, so to speak, and 
addressing Mr. Gooderich as a fellow man, bade him enter the 
Mystic Portals and become a neophyte in a Lodge in which, it 
was understood^ in a manner too involved and subtle to transmit 
to paper^ Mr. Fife himself occupied a not unimportant posi- 
tion. 

The question was^ could he raise the necessary twenty pounds. 

Being actually on the top of the tide of optimism which had 
been gradually overtaking him for days, and very soon flushed 
with spirit, Mr. Gooderich saw no difficulties. He spoke of hav- 
ing to draw on his reserve of late, work being scanty, but thought 
he could manage it " very shortly." 

" Well, of course, you know your own business best. Mister, 
but I thought it best to mention it you — understand?" Mr. 
Gooderich swallowed and nodded. 

** Course, if it is any particular trouble, seeing I'm the one 
who's puttin' you up to the idea, and, 'without prejudice'" — 
(here the voice of Mr. Fife flattened to a close-llppcd whisper) 
— " draw what you like, up to fifty, at fi' p' cent." 

Mr. Gooderich fixed his eyes critically on No. 3 Manage 
i la Mode, and revolved the matter in his mind. It was a 
great relief, for it removed the necessity for telling lie after lie 
all to cover the naked fact tliat his bank account was seventeen 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 118 

and eightpence. He had no objection to being lent money. As 
for the interest^ what improvident man ever did worry his head 
about interest ? And then look at the ultimate advantage. How 
they all backed each other up^ looked after the orphans and 
widows and all that. . • • Even the King 

Vague visions of a happier future floated before Mr. Goode- 
rich's eyes. I have mentioned in a previous chapter his ideal 
of existence^ in a tavern by the sea. Something of this pos- 
sessed him now — if he could only possess the substance! It 
was not impossible — he was sitting beside a man who had been 
in that glorious position^ who would be in it again shortly. 
Through the fumes of the whisky Mr. Gooderich contemplated 
happiness^ a happiness which consisted almost entirely, dear 
reader^ in not having to work. That improved circumstances 
would enable him to educate his children^ buy them books and 
instruments^ send them abroad to become acquainted with the 
civilisations of Europe, would place within his wife's reach a 
respite from her abominable and ceaseless toil, give her fine rai- 
ment and decent retirement — these trivialities did not obtrude 
themselves upon his outlook at all. 

There had come into his usually quiet eye a look of the anx- 
ious ferrety sort, intended by him to indicate a knowing, worldly, 
and cynical turn of mind. 

By ten o'clock his optimism brooked no opposition from any- 
thing. The question of security was disposed of with a laugh. 
If he couldn't find security for twenty pounds — well! What 
did Mr. Fife take him for? 

At ten-fifteen Mr. Fife looked at a rolled-gold hunter, com- 
pared it ostentatiously with the neat black clock on the chimney- 
piece, clicked the lid to, put it away and reached for his stick. 
He was sorry, but he had an appointment at eleven with a 
brother-in-law of his — a little matter of business. He would 
see Mr. Gooderich the following evening and talk it over further. 
No need to rush it. Go into things bald-headed, and you get 
singed! (Greater men than Julius Fife have mixed metaphors.) 
Take your time and you didn't regret it. Well, was Mr. Goode- 
rich going too? In the opposite direction of course. Well, goo' 
night. Goo' night. Miss! 

And Mr. Fife, relighting his pipe, made off in an easterly 
direction towards Palmer's Green. 

Mr. Gooderich paused in front of the Assembly Rooms to 



114 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

• 

collect himself. He was sanguine^ there was no doubt of that. 
Equally undeniable was the potency of the spirit within him. 
He straightened himself up^ set forward westward^ but did not 
notice^ so deep were his cogitations, that he was taking the road 
through the village instead of that by the church, until the 
brazen front and acetylene lights of the " Green Dragon " 
recalled him to the world of sense. He went on, reflecting that 
just a little ahead on the opposite was a signpost and a gate, 
which led to a path across tlie fields — one of those fortuitous 
and illogical trails I have mentioned — over the stream at the 
bottom of the valley, and so out upon the East Barnet Road. It 
was a fine night, a beautiful night for a sanguine man to take 
a walk. It was early yet. And he passed over, sighted the gate, 
made it safely, and resumed his walk and his musings. 

" The intellectual power, through words and things, went 
sounding on its dim and perilous way." 

For Mr. Gooderich assisted his reverie by a series of dis- 
jointed sentences, not always to the point, sometimes profoundly 
obscure. Like some great poets, whose most impassioned moods 
and loftiest flights are the most diflicult to construe, so Mr. 
Gooderich's mentality, as it soared into the empyrean, became 
less adapted to our common speech, and the '' way " would have 
seemed *' dim and perilous " had there been any one near to 
listen. Frequently enough he encountered lovers, but the respect- 
ability which he wrapped round his soul even in drink came to 
his aid and he stalked by them impeccable. And as he advanced 
the sheltering trees were left behind, the path lay down across 
wide misty meadows, destitute of the seclusion so dear to the 
lover, and Mr. Gooderich wavered onward, a solitary man. The 
cool night-wind after those potions of warm water and whisky, 
did not, as many inexperienced folk imagine, allay the disorder 
of the brain. It seems almost as though, when the spirit has 
risen to the head, it is confirmed there by a cooler air. Moreover, 
that terrible white radiance in which he moved is no friend of 
sanity. 

" To be — be a I'm all right, now I'm a — what a saucy 

bitch that gel is! So help me Gawd! I'll tell her — pAoo/ — 
Where's the matches — her mother knows she's a — what a life! 
— 'f I wasn't married I could get on, oh yes, — sh'll look ol* 
fash'n'd when she knows she's a — a Mason! — me I mean — 
wimmen bob down then — whupp! dam the fence — like day* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 115 

« 

light tbis moon is. Where's me matches? — now hold up^ Jed- 
diiJi ! O my Gawd^ Jeddah ! " He dropped the match flaming 
to the ground and stood staring into a vacancy of horror. That 
day! How the name of the horse brought back that terrible 
Derby! Slowly he struck another match, shaking his head. 
"Fort'n o' war!" he muttered^ moving on. "Are we down- 
hearted? make anybody down-'earted, t'live wi* 'er. R — r — r! 
yer little slattox! Than-gaw' you ain't mine^ wi' yer chin stuck 
out." 

His dislike, or impatience or whatever it was, exacerbated 
by alcohol, flickered tremulously from wife to daughter, from 
daughter to wife. And so in a zigzag way he came to the 
bottom, where the path ran into shade again, and an old tree 
leaned over the stream by the little wooden bridge. 

A lady and gentleman, communing after the manner of their 
kind upon the mystery of elective affinities (How strange! And 
I was goin' to school then. Fancy ever comin' to this:) and 
possibly other astonishing aspects of their lives which they per- 
ceived reflected in the stream, were leaning on the rail, he idly 
cutting his initials with his knife. With some impatience they 
turned on the interloper, who had paused behind them to pursue 
his interminable pipe-lighting. With no loss of dignity, the gen- 
tleman, outraged by this infraction of the unwritten Laws of 
Love and Courtship, shut up his knife, took the lady's arm and 
moved on, leaving a neatly carved R and a half-finished S (very 
difficult to do an S decently) on the mossy rail. Mr. Gooderich, 
wasting matches, looked after them stupidly for a moment, and 
then leaned on the rail himself, glad of tlie support. The unmis- 
takable displeasure of the pair cast a shadow over his optimism. 
What had he done? He was a respectable man, goin'' to join a 
lodge, wasn't he? Well then, where were the matches? He 
looked at his pipe, trying to capture an idea that had flitted 
across his mind just now. Ah! It wanted cleaning. He ran 
his hand along tlie weather-worn rail until a split in tlic wood 
caught his fingers, now intertwined. They 'adn't bought the 
bloomin' bridge, 'ad tliey? Well then. He continued to pull 
abstractedly, not noticing that the split opened obliquely across 
the grain. Gaw dam't, come off! He gave a wrench which 
dislodged the rail at the far end, and leaning in his surprise 
still more heavily upon it, it gave way and plunged him head- 
long into the stream. 



116 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Little Hanny and Hiram, returning stained and weed-draggled 
from Littler's Pond, came past the church and down the steep 
hill, triumphant with three fish of negligible sixe. 

Arrived at the stone bridge they began a discussion of the 
huge fish to be had in this stream, and sitting on the northern 
parapet they stared at the three-foot weir over which the water 
was pouring with a faint musical sound. 

*' That's what keeps 'em down here, I guess," said Hiram, 
jerking his stick towards the weir. '* There ain't no fish up 
there, 'cause I tried it at that little wood bridge on the path. 
It's deep and got stones at the bottom, but there ain't no fish." 

'' There is over 'ere," said Hannibal, flinging his thumb over 
his shoulder. 

" You git summoned quick if you're copped." 

" Um. Not 'alf." They swung their legs in unison. 

''Say, Hanny, what's that comin' down tibere? See it? " 

" I dunno. Ain't a dog, is it? " 

Out on the shining whiteness of the meadow-bordered stream 
beyond the trees they saw a black blob moving quickly towards 
them. 

'' Lummy ! " said Hannibal, and Hiram echoed " Lummy ! " 
and with that absurd ejaculation their feelings passed into the 
region of the inexpressible. Sometimes it disappeared, that 
curious blob on the shimmering whiteness of the water, some- 
times paused and turned slowly on itself, caught by some invis- 
ible snag, then vanished into the shadow of the trees. They 
waited, trembling and voiceless, for the splash, and jumped when 
they heard it, straining their eyes to pierce the darkness. Simul- 
taneously tliey saw it, saw it with a chill at tlieir hearts and a 
crawling sensation of their skins, immediately beneath them, 
turning horribly on the footing of the bridge, and slipping under 
tliem. With a quick intake of his breath, Hiram ran across the 
road, climbed the parapet and looked over the wooden fence that 
rose above it. Hannibal, in a trance, followed, afraid, grating 
his knees on the stones as he tried to mount beside his com- 
panion. Hiram put his hand against Hanny's face and pushed 
him back. 

"What's up?" Hanny whispered, looking up scared and 
trembling. 

Hiram slipped down and pulled up his stockings. 

"It's a man." He breathed. "He's dead, I guess. Ill 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 117 

run an' tell Ma. Yon stop here, Hanny." And he ran off np 
the road as hard as he could. The child looked after his friend 
as though wishful to follow. A dead man! He put his knees 
against the stones once again and clambered up. The full light 
of the moon came strongly upon the water just there and he 
saw it grounded on a sandy shoal, the hands swaying purpose- 
lessly in the current, a quiet and memorable picture. 

With a little cry the boy slid to the ground, and there they 
found him, huddled against the wall in the darkness, one hand 
pressed on the stones, the other covering his face. 



XVII 

MRS. WILFLEY, when she heard of the domestic be- 
reavement from Minnie herself^ sprang at the 
opportunity like a lioness upon her prey. Minnie^ 
somewhat fatigued by the emotional stress of the 
previous nighty and rendered a little uncertain of herself by an 
encounter with the young man in the coal-agent's office, was 
borne down, swept off her feet and carried away by a torrent of 
gush unparalleled even in Clifford's Inn. When it subsided 
she found herself, limp and bewildered, on the Chesterfield by 
the window, sniffing a handkerchief drenched in Florida-water 
and listening to Mrs. Wilfley's plans for the future. 

These plans were in the main altruistic. In spite of her frail 
health and an urgent request from a northern editor to write a 
series of articles on the moral tone of the town, Mrs. Wilfley 
was resolved to interest herself in the welfare of the Gooderich 
family. She had done this sort of thing before, and knew that 
swiftness of initiative was imperative if some one else were 
not to prevent her. Of course nothing could be done publicly 
until the funeral, but much might be accomplished privately, so 
that at the psychological moment, a phrase dear to her, she 
might burst forth in the very forefront of the movement as hon- 
ourary secretary of a committee of prominent people, including 
one or two local people, to arrange a grand concert in aid of 
such a deserving case. Mrs. Wilfley placed much reliance on 
her influence with the local religious life: her articles, she had 
reason to believe, were read onmivorously in Nonconformist cir- 
cles. Possibly a lecture by her on " Slum Life " or " A Flower- 
Girl's Tragedy " might be a further contribution. 

All this, as it became clear to Minnie from Mrs. Wilfley's ex- 
planation, was profoundly distasteful. She realised that neither 
she nor her family had the slightest claim upon the neighbour- 
hood. Her father had not been a member of any club or church, 
they had done nothing individually or collectively to identify 

themselves with the community, they had merely lived rather 

ll8 



CASUALS OF THE SEA • 119 

meanly and obscurely amidst a number of other mean and ob- 
scure families. Moreover, she bad the nobility of soul which 
is libellously miscalled " proper pride " ; she resented the inter- 
ference of strangers in her affairs. She was not a good girl, 
she was not a " nice girl," she went, eventually, far from the 
paths df virtue; but at least she stood on her own feet; she 
took the wages of sin, not the spongings of the pious. But Mrs. 
Wilfley considered Minnie's distaste not at all. She was re- 
solved to take an interest in the case, and she did. She told 
Minnie to go home and look after her mother and leave the 
matter entirely in her hands. Which Minnie was willing to do, 
only — here she sat up and faced her benefactress — was she to 
start on her new work? 

" Oh, certainly," chanted Mrs. Wilfley. " My dear girl, what 
can you think of me? I will send you a cheque for a month's 
salary at once. Have I the address? Yes; well, I will for- 
ward it at once." 

Nothing could be more generous, more charming. 

When Minnie was gone, Mrs. Wilfley, who had the constitu- 
tion of a cart-horse when she found it convenient, sat down and 
did several hours' hard work. Then she went downstairs to a 
publisher on the ground floor, and borrowing his telephone (who 
can refuse a lady?) held communication with Mrs. Worrall, 
Mr. Anthony Gilfillan, and the secretary of a dramatic employ- 
ment bureau. Mrs. Worrall referred her dear friend to Mrs. 
Gaynor, Mr. Gilflllan, arguing company-law with a suspicious 
solicitor, professed himself charmed to assist Mrs. Wilfley, and 
begged to be placed on the committee as he lived in the neigh- 
bourhood, and the secretary of the dramatic employment bureau 
ran over a list of names on his desk which, he believed, would 
suit such a concert as Mrs. Wilfley suggested, and hoped to hear 
further shortly. Terms, he added, as usual, five per cent, com- 
mittee to pay all travelling expenses. These matters adjusted, 
the lady thanked the publisher prettily, ascended to her own 
flat again, and wrote a tactful letter to Mrs. Gaynor. She knew, 
she said, from what their mutual friend Mrs. Worrall had hinted, 
that Mrs. Gaynor would prove a valuable ally in this projected 
charity, and begged Mrs. Gaynor to assist her by suggesting a 
suitable prominent local resident as president and chairman. 
Hoping for the pleasure of a meeting shortly, she begged to 
ranaisj etc 



120 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

To this Mrs. Gajnor replied briefly^ saying that while quite 
unfitted for any active participation in the proposed affair, she 
had no hesitation in advising Mrs. Wilfley to approach Colonel 
Corinth-Sqnires, of Chits-hill Place^ to assume the chairmanship^ 
he being quite the proper person and well able to give solid finan- 
cial support as well as social prestige. And she begged to re- 
main^ etc. 

And so^ almost before the coroner had packed his black bag, 
the preliminaries had been settled, the parties had been ap- 
proached, and the musical artistes had had word of a possible 
engagement in North London. 

Colonel Corinth-Squires, on receipt of a letter from a total 
stranger, remembered with a start that he had promised to speak 
to a friend commanding the Wessex Fusiliers concerning the 
lad who had so dramatically stated his intention to be a soldier. 

He had made a note of it at the time, but one thing and an- 
other had caused the affair to slip from memory. Now the 
name Gooderich recalled the whole matter. Wliile writing at 
once to Casterbridge Depot, his daughter came in and expressed 
surprise that the authoress, Olga Wilfley, should be writing to 
her father. The Colonel was gratified. Even he had heard of 
the book The Licencees of Love, and he delighted his daughter 
by permitting her to answer Mrs. Wilfley favourably, adding an 
invitation to dinner to enable them to discuss the whole proposi- 
tion. 

" As a matter of fact," said the Colonel, half to himself and 
half to his daughter as she sat writing her note, " as a matter of 
fact, it*s quite unnecessary to use any influence to get a lad into 
the Army except physical force, which will never happen in 
this wretched country. On the other hand, if I send him to 
Casterbridge, and he thinks some one is interested in his good 
behaviour, he will probably stick to his work and turn out well. 
If I don't, he may not go into the Army at all^ and become a 
counter-jumper or a — a something useless." Miss Corinth- 
Squires carefully ignored her father's cogitations and bent all 
her attention to the writing of the note. She was not a good 
penwoman, and the letter, when written, resembled the horo- 
scopes sold by Hindoo fortune-tellers in Bombay. She had, 
moreover, a difficulty in striking just that chord of dignity, pat- 
ronage, and cordiality which she felt would be acceptable to such 
a distinguished woman as Mrs. Olga Wilfley. She was reaUy 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 121 

grateful to dear Dad for giving her this chance to overtop the 
Barlows, the Revingtons, and even the Plunket-Downes with 
their insufferable Newnham daughter who read Ostrovsky in the 
original. 

When Mrs. Wilfley received the note> she dismissed from her 
mind the notion that it was written in an Oriental language, and 
at once fell upon its exegesis. She knew by experience the de- 
plorable state of education among the upper classes. Perhaps 
this word is not sufficiently strong. Exegesis, as Doctor John 
Browne kindly explains to us non-classical folks, means bringing 
out of a passage all there is in it. Mrs. Wilfley did this, but I 
think she also followed that brilliant school of commentators 
and art critics who read into a work vastly more than the original 
Father or Master ever dreamed of. Certainly Miss Carolyn 
Corinth-Squires would have been agreeably tickled had she 
known how far-reaching Mrs. Wilfley imagined the results of 
this encounter to extend. But Miss Corinth-Squires was not a 
public person. She had never reflected on the fact that all fame 
is built up of innumerable microscopic transmitted opinions, of 
myriads of inconceivably small enthusiasms which, like coral 
insects, live out a brief life among their fellow specks and die, 
leaving a tiny hollow shell of sounding reputation, and form, 
with Uie coming of the years, a reef round which the breakers 
roar and on which many a cock-boat, useful in itself, is dashed 
to atoms. I do not say that Mrs. Wilfley ran tliis thought to 
earth in exactly the same way as I have done, but she was 
keenly conscious of the fact and welcomed any means of extend- 
ing its application to herself. Both ladies, indeed, had so much 
to occupy their immediate deliberations that the bereaved fam- 
ily almost dropped out of memory altogether. Not so the 
Colonel. He had told the story at White's with approval, the 
story of that masterly manoeuvre on Trinity Green, that Napole- 
onic stroke of genius of the feint, the ambush, the flnal furious 
melee. Give the boy a five-poun' note and pay his fare to Cas- 
terbridge, eh? By George, it had done him good when that 
young ruffian bad stuttered out *' Soldier, sir,*' all among his 
mates in the class. Good stuff there ! 

Bert appeared. 

" Still o' the same mind, eh? " 

•' Yessir," rcpUed Bert. 

" That's good, that's good. Well, I'll {^ve you a note to the 



19» CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Colonel at Casterbridge — here it is — and here's a trifle to help 
the mother. Oh, that's all right, my lad. Stick in and step 
smartly. Make a man of yon in no time. Always trouble some- 
where in the Empire, yo' know; may get your chance any day. 
That's right, that's right Good-bye.'* 

And Bert, armed with his note and a small bag of movable 
dunnage, made his way to Casterbridge and dropped civilian's 
life and clothes forever and without regret. He was glad, he 
admitted, that the inquest decided his old man " 'adn't done his- 
self in," Bert having deep-laid and quite inarticulate views on 
self-destruction; and he was glad to feel that he would not 
be round when the grand concert came off. 

For the grand concert, thanks to Mrs. Wilfley's unflagging 
efforts, came off, in the Assembly Rooms, in style. She had 
dined at the Corinth-Squires' and had been begged to assume 
the secretaryship. That accomplished, she made many friends 
among the religious denominations, secured the editor of the local 
paper, engaged her artistes, contracted for the hall and printing, 
did everything, in fact, in a clever and expeditious manner. 
Minnie, proceeding day by day to Clifford's Inn, did most of 
the clerical drudgery, it was true; but could she do less, she who 
was to benefit so largely, she who had received a month's sal- 
ary in advance? And it was during these days, when Mr. Gil- 
fillan, as a member of the committee, called frequently to confer 
with the secretary, that Iklinnie's nature became softer and more 
pliant under his dominant personality. 

The widow, addressing her bed-posts before turning out the 
light, remarked: 

" Tony takes an interest in the child " ; adding, as she reached 
out to the switch: 

" And she looks very effective in black." 



XVIII 

MINNIE was^ however^ the only one of the family who 
did look effective in black. Mrs. Gooderich was not 
an effective woman at the best of times, and she 
supported the rdle of widow neither with dignity nor 
composure. She was harassed, she said, with so many things. 
Truly the sudden removal of the companion of so many years 
was a shock; but tears? She felt that her position involved 
many tears, so persistent is the hypocrisy of modem life. Mrs. 
Gaynor was of no avail against the enormous weight of tradi- 
tion. Her silent yet powerful personality was baffled in its at- 
tempt to assuage the lachrymatory flood. Unwittingly, no 
doubt, she was of too fine a type to deal with the woman, for 
her patience broke down after the funeral, when the returning 
cortege halted at the "Northern Star" and the mourners filled 
the saloon-bar with crepe. With an indignation unexpressed in 
words, but patent in her carriage, Mrs. Gaynor walked slowly 
home. This adjournment was not proposed by Mrs. Gooderich, 
though she thought it only the thing to do. Her husband's 
sister's husband, father of Amelia, Thomas, Ethel, and John, 
who bulked largely in the first carriage, was the author of the 
scheme. They were all there, the builder in a small way in 
Camberwell, his large languid wife, his pre-eminently respect- 
able children, Amelia, Thomas, Ethel, and John, black-garbed, 
quiet and interested. Little Hannibal sat opposite little Amelia; 
and they two, destined in happier years to walk as sweethearts 
to and fro, regarded one another with the mysterious resentment 
of children* Mr. Brown himself was, as I said, a bulky man, 
with a firm mouth, conventional whiskers, and a humorous blue 
eye. Perhaps it was his humour that led him to call at a 
licensed house for the funeral baked meats. Perhaps he fath- 
omed Mrs. Gaynor's racial antipathy to gin-palaces, and de- 
sired, after the manner of Gothic humourists, to emphasise the 
grotesque. Perhaps he was merely conventionally anxious for 
m drink, for he made no remark when she stalked away from the 

isa 



124 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

spot, and doubtless forgot her while consuming pork-pie and 
stout. 

He was unfeignedly pleased to hear that local people were 
fixing up a concert in aid of his sister-in-law, for he held no 
sentimental views of his duties towards the widow and the or- 
phan. He had four growing children to feed and clothe^ his 
own wife was "delicate/' as witness her partiality for invalid 
stout and port wine, his business was small and profits pre- 
carious, what could he do? He was surprised, he said, that 
Herbert had not been *' in " anything but his trade-union, who 
had provided the funeral expenses, but he and him had never 
had much truck with each other. Live an' let live was his 
motto. Ah, well, we all 'ad to go some time. Any little thing 
he could do, he declared, at any time, he'd only be too glad. 

Minnie, watching him with mercilessly steady eyes, and igno- 
rant of the high courageous humour that balanced him on his 
slippery little vantage point of life, decided that it was very 
little he would ever do. AVliich was unreasonable of the girl, 
for she had no wish to be beholden to him; but she was in an 
unreasonable mood all that day. The coal-agent's clerk, not 
satisfied with her politely evasive answer at the station that 
morning, after the tragedy, had called and asked if the occasion 
might not pave the way to a reconciliation, and Mrs. Gooderich 
had silently implored her daughter to be human and generous. 
Almost the evil spirit in her had prompted her to say, "If you 
want him, mother, you can have him — now," but she had 
flinched from that viciousness and left the room with a shake 
of the head. Mrs. Gaynor's defection had disturbed her too, 
for she had an enormous respect for Mrs. Gaynor, a respect 
which that lady would never have drawn from either Mrs. Goode- 
rich or Mr. Brown, Iklinnie being of a finer texture, her mind 
of a subtler cast. And though Air. Anthony Gilfillan's unmis- 
takable interest was softening her attitude towards life, trans- 
forming her own private phantom-universe, it did not make her 
any easier to live with, which proves the earthiness of Love. 

So Uncle and Aunt Brown went home with cousins Amelia, 
Thomas, Ethel, and John, and trouble neither the Gooderich 
familv nor us for some time. 

Little Hannibal profited most, I ima^nne, from the whole 
business. He had an entire new suit of black cloth, new boots, 
his first bowler hat, a bath (which he needed), a hair-cut, a 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 125 

whole new set of ideas, and a week's holiday in which to set 
them in order. I pass over his joy in playing at funerals: 
that is an inhuman drollery common to most children and was 
checked with the thoughtless ferocity of the average adult. 
What seemed to mc interesting was the nature of the reaction 
from the first Terror that overwhelmed him, child that he was, 
when he saw his father's face in the moonlit water, the Terror 
of the unknowable. It is true that the new mood was retarded 
by his mother's intermittent gusts of affection for the poor little 
orphan, retarded still more by the embarrassing questions of his 
schoolmates after the funeral. " Are you sorry ? " they would 
ask him as he stood in a ring of staring interested eyes. " Are 
you sorry? " " I d'n know," he would reply, chucking a stone 
unconcernedly, and the others felt they were being defrauded. 
They had all, of course, been rogued of threepences and six- 
pences to pay for the School Wreath, which an insane teacher 
had proposed in order to gain some notoriety for himself, and 
they felt dimly that in return they should have been given 
some details on which to gloat, some ghoulish tale from the 
House of the Dead. But when these ephemera had passed 
away, little Hannibal's mind took on a yet more emphatic tinge 
of reflectiveness, his thoughts moved in a closed circle round and 
round the huge and shadowy enigma of human change, and 
death became but one more manifestation of it. Bert had 
changed, had become coarsened and redolent of tobacco, and was 
about to vanish; Minnie had changed, had grown from a flinty- 
eyed Medusa who petrified his adolescent gambols to a tolerant 
semi-stranger, and was in the act of evanishment. Viewed ii) 
the light of these overwhelmingly salient facts, and slowly and 
clumsily excogitated, the problem of his father's high adventure 
took on a similar hue of irrational change. The paraphernalia 
of interment was to him an entirely irrelevant matter, as to most 
children who are spared the shocking ordeal of inspecting the 
coflBned dead. I suppose, if you had bullied him and driven 
him into a comer, you might have extracted an opinion that his 
father was " in there," but this by no means invalidates the 
contention that the whole business was a rather entertaining 
show, ending up with a sip of port wine at the " Northern Star " 
and shrimps for tea. To " become aware suddenly," in the Pa- 
terian phrase^ "of the great stream of human tears falling al- 
ways thro' the shadows of the world/' a young soul must have a 



126 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

higher condnctivity, a closer identity with Nature, and possibly 
a clearer atmosphere, than obtained with little HannibaL Be 
that as it may, it certainly seemed as though the boy's spirit, 
immersed in that illimitable ocean of the unconditioned of which 
I have already spoken, had been drifted away by an invisible 
yet resistless current, such as exist in our terrestrial atmos- 
phere, had been carried neither high nor low, but beyond the 
radius of his mother's arms. Had fate been propitious here we 
might have proceeded to record the history of a genius, an 
iconoclast, a seer, an artist. The materials were there, if you 
consider the boy's crystal-clear vision of mind, his corporeal 
swimming and full brown eye. But the fuel was slow-burning, 
the flame wandered uselessly, and while the heat was to no 
purpose, there was no explosion, no power. And that is the 
need of the man nowadays, as of old, power. The dreamer, the 
thoughtful ones need this most of all. Without it they are 
peculiar, but ineffectual, sometimes also abominably sensual. 
You shall see. 

Here ends, therefore, this part of this book. To what good 
purpose were it to proceed laboriously with the disintegration 
of this family, having shown you the spiritual fact accomplished. 
That they emerge later, coagulate to a certain extent, disperse 
once more, and finally pass, making through Hannibal Goode- 
richy "a small tribute to the ascending effort" of the world, 
will be manifest in the conclusion, if your patience will carry 
you so far. But that a promise may be redeemed, we may 
interpolate as an episode (at this time of day!) the love-story 
of the girL 



XND OF BOOK ONS 



BOOK TWO 
THE CITY 



''All Wr/ii# which i$ impracticabU 
if Bputiofu." — Burke. 



PART I 



IN a few days, after Minnie had brought a wheezy, ill- 
strapped dress-basket and a paper bag containing her Sun- 
day hat, and taken up her quarters on a truckle bed which 
was hidden during tlie day under a yellow cover, she de- 
clared open war. In tlie first place, Minnie discovered with 
some surprise that the companionship of Mrs. Wilfley involved 
housework in all its branches, from washing dishes to cleaning 
hair-brushes with cloudy ammonia. Certainly the dishes were 
only breakfast dishes, and the latter task was begged from her 
as a favour, but the vertical furrow in the girl's forehead deep- 
ened for all that. Then again, Mrs. Wilfley was conversational 
in the sense that she required some one else to be present while 
she talked to herself about herself. It was not reliable in- 
formation because, to tell the truth, Mrs. Wilfley knew remark- 
ably little about herself, but it was an integral part of the 
lady. She had dreams of a talon where she could gather about 
her all her clever friends, a talon that would become famous 
like those of Rambouillet and Lady Jeune. They of course 
would talk, but it would be her own golden voice that would 
weave them all together and make of them a shining and mem- 
orable community. In the meanwhile she practised on Minnie, 
a young woman whose soul, she decided, was dormant. She 
had practised for some time on Anthony Gilflllan, who possessed 
sufficient humour (toward women) to escape unharmed. But 
Minnie's nature could not sustain without distortion such a 
heavy panoply of glittering harness as Mrs. Wilfley's com- 
pianionship soon became. Superimposed upon the girl's as yet 
unexploited ambition lay a stratum of satire, a thin layer of 
sesthetidsm and a thick mass of marble indifference streaked 
with vivid and tangled veins of red anger and love. Of sensu' 
ality you could find but little, that being found most often with 
religiousness; and of the latter the most exhaustive assay de- 
tected no trace. It might be wondered therefore why a woman 

80 emotionally destructive as Olga Wilfley should have " taken 

129 



ISO CASUALS OF THE SEA 

to " the girl as the had done, and the faint-hearted investigator 
might be tempted to refer the puzzle to the " attraction of/oppo- 
site types/' and leave it at that. Such a solution, however, is 
not clear enough to be strictlj honest. An explanation of psy- 
chological phenomena should explain, and this the above gen- 
eralisation does not do. We must employ some reagent that 
will precipitate the turbidity and leave the whole thing clear. 
That reagent consists in the statement that Olga Wilfley and 
Minnie Gooderich, though widely dissimilar in age, experience, 
and emotional activity, were on exactly the same sex-plane. 
Neither of them had the slightest propensity for motherhood. 
In neither of them did the life-force direct the imagination to- 
wards domestic fecundity and economic ease. To Mrs. Wilfley 
a man was a being to get something out of, even if it were only 
a cab-ride or the use of his telephone; to Minnie a man was 
sometimes that, sometimes a person to be avoided. But to 
neither of them was a man a lovable and ridiculous chap who 
hugged them and kissed them and gave them hats and sweets 
and jewels because he worshipped the ground they trod on. To 
hug Mrs. Wilfley was unthinkable. You might as well have 
hugged Lady Hester Stanhope or Margaret Fuller, to take two 
notable examples. And Minnie Gooderich, dissimilar as she ap- 
peared to the unpractised eye, was at this time in the same case. 
To Mrs. Wilfley marriage was a thing to cackle about, to Minnie 
it was distasteful and irrelevant. To both of them Love was 
a powerful but far-off god. 

All this, however, was subterranean and unknown to the two 
protagonists. Minnie, her sleeves, rolled up, washing from 
plates the grease of what Mrs. Wilfley called "the matutinal 
bacon," Mrs. Wilfley herself, flitting from office to office in Fleet 
Street, were alike ignorant of it all and preoccupied with imme- 
diate concerns. One of these was the hour of rising. Mrs. 
Wilfley, having an artistic temperament, could not possibly get 
herself out of bed before ten o'clock; while Minnie, being phys- 
ically sound and well-balanced, woke naturally enough about 
half-past six. To lie for three hours tossing about on a truckle 
bed was torture and led to a discussion. 

" It seems such a waste of time," she said incisively, and she 
regarded Mrs. Wilfley, with her dishevelled hair and her dirty 
dressing-gown, with disfavour. " Can't I do something? " 

Mrs. Wilfley disliked noise. Her nerves were mere rags 



CASUALS OP THE SEA 131 

where noise was concerned^ though she could listen to the sound 
of her own voice for a long time. Minnie submitted unwillingly 
to the ten-o'clock breakfast, and, after the housemaid's work, 
lifted the lid from the typewriter and bent her level brows upon 
a batch of manuscript. This was interesting. The first and 
second essays were chaotic failures, of course, but Minnie found 
herself wondering what, after all, there was in it. It may be 
doubted if she would have made equally swift progress in a 
school, for overlooking and fussy guidance were irksome to her. 
She was one of those people who seem to learn with an economy 
of failure inexplicable to minds whose interests are more dif- 
fused. She was, to use an old-fashioned phrase, neat-handed. 
To use a still older word in a new yet permissible connection, 
she was '* feat." One must attribute this to the concentration 
of her small and compact intellect upon whatever she was en- 
gaged. It explains, too, the curious fact that she paid no atten- 
tion to the subject of the article she had transcribed, which was 
an interview with the Prioress of the Convent of the Sacred 
Heart. Quite without malice did she join up the maimed mem- 
bers of a split infinitive and substitute a comma for a semicolon. 
Common people do not split infinitives any more than they split 
hairs, and semi-colons are to them needless refinements. The 
humour of the thing was that Mrs. Wilfley did not notice either 
modification of her own grammar. 

The completion of the article brought Minnie to one o'clock, 
and putting on her hat she went out, locked the door, and 
descended into Fleet Street to get herself some lunch. To her, 
unused as she was to the great hubbub of the City, the meal in 
a vast tea-shop was novel, thrilling, stimulating. The " caf6- 
habit " came to her at once, naturally and irresistibly. It abol- 
ished the messing with dishes and the smell of cooking. It 
gave her endless opportunities, too, of studying men and women 
of countless types. The interest was unalloyed, moreover, with 
any literary base-metal, for it did not occur to her that she 
might write. Nor did she desire very much to know all these 
men and women who thronged the streets, who filled the 'buses 
and cabs and caf^s of the street Had one of them spoken to 
her, the amused reflectiveness in her expression would have van- 
ished behind an icy reserve, and the stranger would have needed 
the will-power and assurance of Mr. GilfiUan to have dispelled 
it 




182 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Towards Mr. Gilfillan she had developed an interest that was 
a blend of respect and cariosity. With her usual economy of 
emotion^ and this is a common occurrence with girls of small 
imaginative power, she had transferred to him all that she 
liked in the Tiberius of the story, and left him, so to speak, to 
justify his apotheosis. Mr. Giliillan was, as already stated, 
quite ignorant of his present rank, finding the chairmanship of 
" Gilfillan Filaments Limited '* quite enormous enough without 
assuming the purple of romance. During the days previous to 
the grand concert, when Minnie was busily employed in putting 
letters into envelopes, writing addresses, stamping and posting 
them, her frequent though brief meetings with that gentleman 
had strengthened in her mind the notion that she enjoyed his 
company. Instantly she was on her guard. She had had that 
feeling before. Certainly Mr. Gilfillan was the exact antithesis 
of the coal-agent's clerk. He was keen, clever, efficient, un- 
trammelled by silly ideas. But, all the same, she had had that 
feeling before, and the thin stratum of aestheticism in her 
make-up induced a horror of emotional mess and untidiness. 
She had talked of her feelings on one occasion to Mrs. Gaynor, 
who had struck out a good phrase to describe such a state of 
affairs. " You feel all at loose ends, I suppose," said Mrs. Gay- 
nor, and Minnie had replied that that was just it. 

" I suppose Mr. Gilfillan makes a lot of money," she had said 
that morning. 

For a fiftieth part of a second Mrs. Wilfley's unwashed eyes 
flickered as she poured hot water into the teapot. 
Yes, he makes thousands a year," she replied. 
Eh ? " said Minnie, sitting up straight. *' Thousands a 
year ? And lives in Stamford Hill } " 

That was Minnie's way. Her clear brain bit right into the 
heart of Mrs. Wilfley's luscious statements and showed the rot- 
tenness of them. She hnew he couldn't live at Stamford Hill 
if he made thousands a year. There lay a striking difl*erence 
between the two brains. Mrs. Wilfley liked to think she influ- 
enced a man with thousands a year, she imagined that only 
people with huge incomes floated companies, and she had the 
emotionalist's habit of slipshod statement. Minnie, on the 
other hand, at once selected from her scanty knowledge of Mr. 
Gilfillan the entirely sufficient fact that he lived at Stamford 
HiU, 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA ISS 



"Well," went on Mrs. Wilfley, "he must control bnge sums 
of money. His company is a hundred and fifty thousand, or 
something like that." 

"What is it?" 

" Something to do with electric light, I believe. I don't know 
much about tliat sort of thing, it's not in my line, you know. 
He's awfully clever, isn't he.^ " 

Minnie was silent. 

" I know he's awfully interested in you, my dear." 

Another silence. Mrs. Wilfley looked a little pained. 

" He took the greatest interest in the concert. You really 
ought to thank him. Such a busy man . . •" 

Minnie clacked her knife and fork together and looked 
straight at Mrs. Olga Wilfley. 

" I think the less you say to me about that concert, Mrs. 
Wilfley, the better. I'm fed up with the concert." 

" Some people are very difficult to help," said the lady, sip- 
ping her tea. 

"Who asked for your help? And what did the help amount 
to anyhow ? " 

Several times in rapid succession Mrs. Wilfley's eyelids flick- 
ered. 

" My dear child, the balance was handed over " 

" Fourteen pounds, I know. That was a fat lot to get out of 
seventy pounds eighteen, wasn't it? It's a paying business, I 
should think, getting up concerts for people." 

" I don't think you quite realise who you're talking to," said 
Mrs. Wilfley, rising and going towards the bedroom door. " I 
can refer you to numbers of the best people " 

" I don't want you to do that. All I want is to hear the last 
of that concert. Motlier'll give you thanks for two." 

When Mrs. Wilfley emerged again from the bedroom she was 
dressed for walking, and going over to where Minnie was sitting 
over a magazine, she stood there pulling on the fingers of her 
long white kid gloves. Her face was composed, and she had 
captured for the day the lustrous yearning look which was even 
then becoming famous among the inmates of rescue homes and 
night-shelters. " Nosey Mary " they called her among them- 
selves, which is a damning proof of their depravity and shame- 
lessness. Just as Minnie was beginning to grow restless under 
the soft insistent sound of the kid gloves and the silent prozim- 



IM CASUALS OF THE SEA 

itj of the ladj^ the latter bent down suddenly and put her hand 
round the girl's shoulders. 

*' My dear,** she crooned, " you have a terrible habit of bias- 
ing out at people, you know. I'm sure you are often sorry for 
it afterwards. We are all so utterly weak and despicable at 
heart that we should not dare to judge others. Do you not feel 
that? Sometimes when I have been talking to some poor girl, 
trying to give her some little tiny bit of hope, I have suddenly 
broken down and just cried." 

" You ! " said Minnie^ looking up and putting the book down. 
"Why?** 

" Because when I began to speak to her I felt terribly sorry 
for her. It was just pity, you know. Then I would feel rather 
glad because I had escaped so many of the horrors of her life. 
And suddenly I felt how utterly impossible it was for me to 
really know about any one who was struggling alone against 
evil. I felt as if I was talking to her on the telephone hundreds 
of miles off in the wilderness and all the while she needed some 
one to be close to her, some one who had suffered with her. I 
felt so weak and helpless; and do you know, when we feel like 
that we are on the sure way to be really strong and helpful. 
Mine has not been a very happy life, you know, as the world 
counts happiness, but sometimes I feel that I have been over- 
paid when a poor miserable girl has written to me and thanked 
me, not for money, not for advice, not for anything material, 
but for tympathy, just that sudden feeling of weakness and ig- 
norance which made her see I was not doing it out of pride, but 
out of love.** 

For a space there was a silence in the room with the dark oak 
rafters and quaint old lanterns. Minnie sat lacing her fingers, 
looking down at them intently. When she spoke it was in a 
quiet, even voice. 

It seems to be all feeling with you, Mrs. Wilfley,** she said. 

I don't take things tliat way at all. I suppose I'm selfish or 
proud or something or other, but I never bother with other peo- 
ple's affairs. If they let me alone, I let them alone. As for 
helping people, I can't afford it I've got to make a living 
somehow and be independent as soon as I can. If I was rich, 
like Mr. OilfiUan,*' here Minnie smiled a little, '' I might give 
a lot." 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 135 



'' Oh^ it isn't money that matters^ my dear child. It is sym- 
pathy a broken heart wants, not money" 

"Is it? Well, it seems to me that people with plenty o' 
money never need much sympathy. Wlien you've got money you 
can buy anything. It's not tlie trouble that makes yon wish 
you were dead and out of it, it's the nag, nag of being without 
enough cash. I know what it is, I can tell you. I don't mean 
being poor with a little money put by for a rainy day, I mean 
having a rainy day all the time, and all the week's money ow- 
ing before you get it. It's all very well to talk," here Minnie 
rose and stood by the window. ** It's all very well to talk about 
syfaipathy and helping others when you've got a bit, but you 
don't get much sympathy when you owe money. We never used 
to. Only Mrs. Gaynor. I do believe it makes no difference to 
her how poor you are, but Mrs. Gaynor's all right herself. She 
can afford it." 

" You will change, I am sure of that, my dear. You find the 
world hard. Yes, why? Because you are hard. You think 
every one is on the make " 

" Well^ aren't they? " asked Minnie without turning round. 

''Of course not! That is a horrible idea to get hold of. I 
Imow hundreds of men and women who live unselfish lives, who 
give themselves to others to try and make the world less un- 
happy. There is no joy like service." 

*' I daresay what you say's true," answered Minnie. " What 
I mean is, all these good people you know: are they worryin' 
about the rent? It makes a lot of difference, they'd find." 

Mrs. Wilfley turned from the table where she had been pour- 
ing out a lukewarm cup of tea. She put it down again now 
and sat down. 

** Come and sit down, my dear." 

Minnie came over unwillingly and leaned against the table. 

** You talk about nothing but rent and money and things like 
that. My child, your whole view is distorted and wrong. Look 
at me. You tliink I know nothing of these things, I suppose. 
Yoo wouldn't think I have been a hospital nurse, would you?" 

'' Were you? " put in Minnie, looking down at her. 

''Of course I was. You'll read all about it if yon read my 
book. It's over there. You see, you are very ignorant of life, 
Minnie, and when you blaze out at people you ought to be very 



136 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

sure you're quite right. Now let me tell you something. I be- 
long to a profession in which we are always looking for fresh 
ideas and fresh people. It is a profession in which experience 
doesn't count for very much. Some people I know, men and 
women^ have been in this profession for years and yet are not 
much good. And I have known a girl who had hardly any expe- 
rience at all do very well because she had just the right tempera- 
ment. My friend Mrs. Worrall is of great assistance to me in my 
work among girls because she has tlie right temperament to find 
out what they can do. Mrs. Worrall sent you to me because she 
believed you would be useful in my work. But what I was 
going to say was that in my profession we are always struggling 
even more than other people against material wants, and yet 
we have to think first about ideas and people. If I were to be 
always worrying about money I should never do anything else. 
Worry won't help me." 

" That's what Mrs. Gaynor says/' admitted Minnie^ but in a 
sceptical tone. 

"Of course she does. She's one of us. Mr. GilfiUan is al- 
ways laughing at our ideas^ but he really acts on them himself 
very often, though of course he is on the make, you know. So," 
concluded Mrs. Wilfley, standing up, " you mustn't run away with 
the idea that because you are a sharp, clever girl you know bet- 
ter than anybody else how to run the world. As a dear old 
friend of mine says, ' We all have our funiosities/ and you 
wouldn't believe how strange that sounds from him because he 
has so many ' funiosities ' of his own that he never dreams of." 

For some time after Mrs. Wilfley had sailed out of her flat and 
down tlie stairs into Fleet Street^ Minnie Gooderich stood think- 
ing seriously. She began to clear the table and talk to her- 
self, as was her habit. 

" She's a coughdrop," she commented several times. ** I 
wonder what it's all about. I s'pose people do get fed up with 
me. Can't help it. Sharp clever girl, eh? Don't seem very 
sharp and clever to stick here washin' up for her. She U but- 
tery." Minnie stopped still with some cups and saucers in her 
hands, her head uplifted as if listening. " No," she said, going 
quickly into the back room and through into a tiny scullery. 
** No fear ! I've had all I want of that. I'm goin' tlirough wiUi 
it. I'm goin' to keep on my own somehow. Anything but that! 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 187 

But O Lord, I must keep doin' something or I shall go dotty ! " 

She began to wash up> working with quick, nervous move- 
ments, working with that precision and economy of effort which 
distinguished everything she did or said. One after another the 
dishes were wiped dry and polished and put away. Then she 
went back and made the beds, quickly if not perfectly, folded up 
some stray garments and laid them away, and then, without 
pausing, she entered the front room again and took up Mrs. 
Wilfley's book. The Licenceet of Love. 

It may be doubted if the girl understood a great deal of this 
book, which dealt with the lives of those women who have al- 
ways been a problem in European civilisation. Mrs. Wilfley's 
solution of the problem may have been correct or erroneous; 
it matters not to us. The fact to be noted is that much of her 
book was enigmatic to Minnie, because the girl had no knowl- 
edge of the matter to guide her. She knew of girls at the fac- 
tory, of course, who ** did overtime " as they called it, girls 
who had gone for ** trial-trips " and so vanished from view. 
But of the great underworld, Minnie, having been bom and 
grown up before popular fiction had made the subject peculiarly 
its own, before really popular fiction had cast off the trammels 
of respectability, knew nothing. She understood trouble and 
misery to mean lack of money, for she could not go outside her 
experience. Tlie agonies of soul of Magdalens in high places 
she could not feel. She was a child of Mammon in the sense 
that everything translated itself into cost Moreover, she had 
a vague subconscious instinct, one might almost call it, that when 
men and women did evil for money, when they fought for their 
stands in tlie market-place and paid their way for all the world 
like other people, the evil receded. These girls Mrs. Wilfley 
was so solicitous for struggled as bravely in their way as wait- 
resses and retouchers did in theirs; they had rent to pay and 
clothes to buy. The evil of their lives did not come through 
to Minnie, and Mrs. Wilfley's emotional stress (in print) left 
her cold. 

She put the book down at length and turned to a tiresome 
exercise that Mi:s. Wilfiey had recommended as conducive to ac- 
curacy and speed. 

Now is the time for all Good Men to come to the Aid of the 
Party. Over and over again she banged at the keys, each time 



138 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

increasing in speed, and the drone and click of the machine was 
soothing to her nerves. She was still at it when Mrs. Wilfley 
returned. 

" How do yon like it? " she asked, smiling and drawing off 
her gloves quickly. 

'* It's a change of occupation, of course/' replied Minnie as 
though that implied everything. " I don*t say as I should like 
a lot of it, but it can't be more monotonous than dabbing prints." 

" Don't forget what you know about photography, my dear. 
It may be useful to you in the future. Now I've got something 
for you to do. ^ I have an article to write. I want you to put 
on your hat and go down west and just note down the things 
in the shop windows." 

" Everything? " said Minnie, aghast. 

" Of course not. New things in the big shops. And if yoo 
see a woman with something really chic on you can make a note 
of that. You'll want a note-book and pencil." 

*' It's a new job for me," argued the girl. 

*' I know. That's why your notes will be of value. You have 
innocence of eye, as the artistic people say." 

"But I shan't know what they call some of the things. I 
haven't any dress-making experience." 

" Then go in and ask. I'll give you one or two of my cards. 
Don't be afraid." 

"Oh, I'm not afraid. Don't you think that, Mrs. Wilfley! 
What I don't see is what the good of it is." 

" Worrying again ! That independent spirit of yours will get 
you into all sorts of trouble." Mrs. Wilfley had taken off her 
hat and jacket and now seated herself at her table and opened 
her bag. Seeing no further use in discussion, Minnie pinned on 
her hat, put the cards in her purse and went out. In Chancery 
Lane she purchased a note-book and pencil and mounted a 'bus 
going west, a white Kensington 'bus. 

On the top of the 'bus sat Anthony GilfiUan, deep in a thick 
pamphlet and smoking an oval cigarette* 



II 

MRS. WILFREY had shown unusual penetration (for 
which we give her due credit) in remarking that 
Anthony Gilfillan wa^ on the make. 
Difficult and impertinent as it is^ and futile into 
the bargain^ to sum up our brethren in one smart phrase^ a jurj 
of the average sort would have confirmed the verdict. Yet^ 
like many other curt judgments^ it meant^ on scrutiny, nothing. 
W( say of a millionaire that his god is money. Is it? Very 
flattering to ourselves, no doubt, our mediocre selves who know 
nothing of the man's soul. It is stated with some truth by the 
psychologists that the roots of a man's virtue are inaccessible 
to us. So for that matter are the roots of his vices. Often a 
fungoid growth, the mere result of early darkness and unusually 
rich soil, will hide from us the latent and unlooked-for goodwill. 
Later, when he became rich and powerful, when his sayings 
became quotations beyond the business world, when he was 
hated as an evil influence and hailed as a master of affairs, the 
tale of Anthony Gilfillan's life was dotted over with these toad- 
stools of unworthy acts, blots on his scutcheon, and people who 
were neither clever enough nor brave enough to do likewise 
shook their heads. ** If I'd done that, I'd get into jail," they 
would say; or, '* Clever chap; d'you know how he got on? Why, 
some poor devil or other — I forget his name — went to him 
with an invention. • . . Yes, Stole it! • • • Made a pot o' money 
out of it. His Knighthood, too. How'd you s'pose he got that? 
Didn't you see it? Why, Bought it . • .!" And so on. And 
all the while the man himself was as hidden as it was on this 
autumn day when he sat on the 'bus deep in his pamphlet. 

The 'bus jerked and started again as Minnie mounted, and she 
bad sat down beside him before she recognised him. Without 
looking up he drew closer to the side of the 'bus to make room 
for her, and she felt a curious tingling sensation at being so 

dose to him. She had felt it when in his presence before at the 

139 



140 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

lecture in Mrs. Wilfley's rooms^ and now she wondered vaguely 
why she felt like that. It was quite different, she summed up^ 
quite a different feeling from the mere self-satisfaction she 
derived from the attentions of the coal-agent *s clerk during the 
first part of their courtship. She looked round and smiled, won- 
dering what he would say when he saw her. Her pulses were 
beating quickly, and a flush spread over her face as her thoughts 
raced away into that spatial vastness which for some of us is 
our only playground, but which is, alas, like so many real play- 
grounds^ vacant and dusty. She recalled Beryl Brentano and 
Tiberius, and wondered what she would do in like circumstances. 
Act haughtily, Minnie surmised, but was not sure. After all 
he was not so very like Tiberius : that was only a first impression. 
He was much more human in some things ; he had a little daugh- 
ter, for example. And she was not Beryl, not by several streets 
of houses. 

Her mother, had she seen her sitting there waiting for the 
man to look up, would scarcely have recognised her daughter. 
An unwonted softness had invaded her face, the indomitably 
hard little face that set itself like flint against the Maple Road 
ideals. There was much of unsuspected childishness in her face 
now, much of goodness. It was like the bloom on fruit. Touch 
it and it was gone, mere soilure on your hands. The presence 
of some people brushed it away from Minnie's face at once. 
But as she sat there beside this absorbed magnetic man, her 
whole conscious self was submerged in that ocean of feeling in 
which we all swim, and the warm currents of it sent a thrill of 
inexplicable happiness through her physical frame. 

And all at once, as he turned a page, he glanced up. 

" Is it possible f ** he said, as he withdrew his mind from the 
pamphlet. "Well met indeed! Are you going far? Why 
didn't you speak ? " And he threw away his cigarette. 

" You seemed so interested," she answered^ shaking hands. 
" I didn't like to disturb you." 

" Rubbish ! You've been having a good look at me^ I expect.*' 

** Yes, I have," she replied. 

"And you are satisfied?" he smiled. 

*' No," she hazarded. She was a novice in tit-for-tat con- 
versation, but her pleasure in it and her native acuteness 
sisted her. " No." 

" That's a cryptic answer. How shall I take it? " 



«« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 141 

" Take it as you like. I can always say 1 didn't mean it that 
way." 

" Wise girl ! I am going to take it to mean you are not sat- 
isfied and want to look at me still more. Is that a risky shot ? " 

" You think a good deal of yourself^ if you think so. A cat 
may look at a king, they say." 

He threw his head back and laughed. 

" You are a most remarkable young woman/' he said. " I 
said as much to Mrs. Wilfley when she told me how you dis- 
liked that concert business." 

I dislike it stilly" she answered gravely. 
Who wouldn't, who had any character at all? I thought 
the whole business very ill-advised when I came to study it, but 
one must compromise in this old world. I have lived in all 
sorts of places, and that is one grain of wisdom at any rate 
that I have treasured up. One must compromise." 

*' I don't see now why she did it," said Minnie. 

Mr. Gilfillan handed up a penny to the conductor to pay for 
Minnie's ticket. 

" It is a species of advertisement with her," he remarked un- 
der his arm. " You see, she makes her living in a way quite 
different from either you or me. You, for example, do so much 
work^ perform so much duty, and receive in return so much 
money. It is a simple commercial transaction, the first step 
beyond simple barter or exchange. I, on the other hand, have 
a number of people, whom I never sec, working for my benefit. 
I provide them with wages, pay the rent and other expenses, 
direct the policy and receive my emolument in the form of divi- 
dends." 

" I see," said Minnie. She was interested in the matter be- 
cause she was interested in him and he in her. 

" Mrs. Wilfley, on the other hand, is what they call in jour- 
nalistic parlance a ' free-lance.' That is, she s))ins out of her 
bead the stuff she sells. There is in her business no ' good- 
will,' as we say in commerce, except her own name. Every- 
thing which can assist her to extend the knowledge of her name 
and so increase the ' goodwill ' of her business, she must be 
ready to do. She saw a chance, I suppose, of increasing her 
prestige in North London by taking a leading part in a charity." 

" It's a funny thing mother only got fourteen pounds out of 
seventy-odd taken," said Minnie, and her face clouded again. 






142 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"Twenty per cent? Dont you think that a business which 
gave fourteen pounds' profit out of every seventy pounds' worth 
of business done would be a pretty good spec? 1 do. I only 
hope my company will do as well." 

Where's the rest gone?" asked Minnie, still vague. 
Expenses: rent^ lightings wages of artistes, printing, sta- 
tionery, postage, fares, telegrams, refreshments, gratuities. You 
see, all the various people who are employed in such an affair 
have no intention of working for nothing — they can't be ex- 
pected to do 80, can they? " 

** No, I suppose not," admitted the girl. "It seems a great 
waste of time and money to get so little out of it though." 

" My idea exactly. As I said, a most ill-advised affair. 
Here is Charing Cross. Where are you going? " 

She told him. He raised his eyebrows. 

"Do vou think you can do it? " he asked. 

"No,'' she said frankly, "I don't I think Mrs. Wilfley's 
making a mistake. I think she's making a mistake in several 
ways. Don't you want to get off? " she said abruptly. 

" I'll go through St. James's Park," he answered. " Go on. 
What are the several ways in which Mrs. W^ilfley is making a 
mistake ? " 

Minnie laughed a little at the mimic in his. tone. 

" Well, in the first place, she believes, or says she believes, 
I'm not exactly a fool and can do this sort of thing easy. In 
the second place, she thinks I am fool enough to do this work 
for her for twelve shillings a week; and in the third place, she 
thinks I'd do anything rather than lose the job. She's wrong 
all the way through." 

"Have you told her this?" 

" No, of course not. Let her find out. Besides, you see, 
Mrs. Wilfley isn't known all at once. She's got all sorts of 
queer fits and starts. She was talking to me this morning as 
if I was the Woman Taken in Adultery." 

Mr. GilfiUan turned silently to the Haymarket to hide a 
smile. 

" Where did you get that illustration? " he demanded. 

" Oh, there's a chapter in her book called that/' said Minnie, 
turning her ticket into a little cylinder of paper. " I was read- 
ing it this morning. I didn't understand much of it, but I 
jnembered that bit." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 145 

" Well," said Mr. Gilfillan^ ** I cannot say once and for all 
that you are right or wrong in heing so certain about your lack 
of ability, because I have always made a rule to believe I could 
do anything if I only tried. For instance, I am a journalist 
at times, for I write articles in technical journals, and what is 
more, I get paid for them. When I started I had never writ- 
ten anything and had never been taught. I sat down with the 
fixed idea in my mind that I could write. And I found I could. 
When I was asked, two years ago, to make a speech at a dinner, 
I had never made a speech. But I got up believing firmly I 
could speak^ and I did. That is my rule of life. If fate means 
you to lose, give him a good fight anyhow. Do you remember 
Henley's magnificent lines: 

* Under the blvg€OiUng$ of chance 
My head i$ bloody ovt unbowed*? 

That is my gospel. What do you think of it? " And, prepar- 
ing to rise, he turned and smiled down into the girl's face. She 
was silent, but her face was aglow. 

" What are you doing this evening? " he asked. 

••Nothing." 

"Well, my sister and little girl are away at the seaside just 
now^ so if you are disengaged I should like you to come and 
dine with me somewhere, will you? " 

•• I should like it" 

"What time? Say seven." 

•*AU right" 

'•Charing Cross Post Office, eh?" 

-AU right." 

" Then au revoir/* And lifting his hat he went down and 
dropped ofi* tlie 'bus. 

A moment later Minnie temporarily recovered her self-pos- 
session and found herself opposite a big shop in Regent Street. 
She descended hastily and joined the crowd on the pavement. 
But she was unable to form any clear notion of the contents of 
the windows. Her brain was still humming as a harpstring 
might hum after the hand that plucked it had gone away. To 
dine, to dine, dine, to dine. So the thought reverberated through 
her brain, and set all the chambers ringing. He was a man, she 
chanted voicelessly, he was indeed a man. He would never finish 
bead-first in a brook. He would not nag interminably about 



144 CASUALS OF tHE SEA 

some trivial matter. He was a man, with brain, with energy^ 
with ideas, and he had asked her to dine, to dine. . . . 

Lunch time passed and she moved up and down in front of 
the shops unheedingly, her note-book clipped in her fingers with 
her purse, untouched. Now and again her slim black figure 
would attract a man's eyes approvingly, but she saw nothing 
save men and women as trees walking, and the shining sunlight. 

And tlicn about three o'clock, she awoke. 

" Oh, what shall I do > " she whispered in her heart. *' What 
shall I do.?" 

The honour of the wage-earner, that honour which is so com- 
mon among us that no man questions it, turned her face to the 
window of the shops, but the emotion of the moment still inter- 
fered with her vision. With a determined efi*ort she braced up 
and walked to one of the great glass doors. Autumn shopping 
was at its height. The calm, serene atmosphere of the place 
was soothing and laid a steady hand upon that aggressiveness 
which always seized Minnie when she was nervous and undecided 
in aim. Tlie frock-coated gentleman who approached her at 
once had appraised her before he had completed his bow. Shop- 
lifters do not dress in plain shabby dresses and sailor-hats. He 
was agreeably respectful therefore. What did Madame desire? 
Minnie gave him one of Mrs. Wilfley's cards on the comer of 
which was engraved the name Sunday Words, This was the 
periodical for which Mrs. Wilfley did the domestic and fashion 
notes, she being neither domestic nor fashionable and so emi- 
nently fitted to give ex'parte opinions. The shopnwalker, to 
Minnie's surprise, seemed prepared for such emergencies. She 
did not know that the fashion notes of Sunday Words were copied 
by dozens of local papers and provincial weeklies throughout the 
kingdom, were sometimes pirated by American papers of the 
^ame type and then re-pirated by English weeklies of a much 
ihigher type. Minnie, of course, knew nothing whatever about 
vthe matter, but the shop-walker did not know that. He merely 
fbegged her to step this way and that way through the different 
(departments to a private room where a tall, severe-looking woman 
(dressed in a gown of plain faultless black was watching the 
slowly-turning figure of another woman in front of the largest 
mirror Minnie had ever seen. He spoke a few words in the 
car of the lady in black, and retired. Minnie's nervousness 
intensified, for she was feeling to her very bones the shabbiness 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 145 

and nncoatlmess of her attire. Needless agony. In this great 
repository of purple and iine linen the personal appearance of 
a fashion* journalist was not a matter of trivial moment^ it was 
a matter of no moment at all. Quite oblivious to Minnie's pres- 
ence the woman before the mirror continued to turn slowly, emit- 
ting a dropping fire of criticism, and the woman in black muttered 
continually in a low refined tone. " Yes, Madame." " Oh, quite 
so, Madame." "Quite impossible, Madame, I agree," never 
taking her eyes from the woman's body as it turned and turned, 
head thrown back, eyes downcast with an expression of imperial 
disdain, hand raised slightly as though dismissing some regal 
suppliant, a tragic and, when you realised the moment, slightly 
ridiculous spectacle. For it was not a virgin Empress who stood 
there, it was not even a great artist rehearsing her part in some 
decorative drama, it was simply a rich man's daughter trying on 
a dress. The dress itself was pinned and tacked from neck to 
floor, a thing of shreds and patches, thread-strewn and unfinished. 

" Yes, Madame, I can loop it up, right up to the armpit. I 
understand perfectly, Madame. Yes, and pearls — one row 
right round the shoulder: exactly. The sleeve will hang down 
close. Yes, to a point, like a wing. And the red band, you are 
decided on that? Very narrow I should suggest, say about 
three-eight's of an inch, stifi*ened with canvas. Yes, it is dis- 
tinctly a conception. No other colour whatever.^ Very good, 
Madame." 

The woman before the mirror turned her back to the mirror 
once more, threw her head yet further back, and took a last 
long look at the billowing folds of the train, met her own eyes 
for an instant in cold scrutiny, and then advanced to an inner 
door. The woman in black sprang- swiftly to open it for her ; 
she passed in and the door closed. 

The woman in black now turned to deal with Minnie. She 
seemed quite as well apprised of Minnie's needs as did the gen- 
tleman in the frock coat. 

" We have several very chic things,** she said afl^ably, for even 
dressmakers are affable to those who provide free advertisements. 
** That was one of the best. Cream Mousselin-de-soie, pearl 
embroidery and a single narrow band of geranium velours at 
the waist but higher than is worn just at present. Here's a note 
of it." 

She took a sheet of paper from a big table jigainst the wall 



14« CASUALS OF THE SEA 

and handed it to Minnie. The table was covered with press- 
cuttings of designs, dress-cuttings, long tangled ^|Mps of ma- 
terial pinned to figured slips, needles, pins, stationery, and order- 
books. The modiste took up a sheaf of papers similar to the 
one Minnie held and turned them over rapidly. 

" I think the most striking are here," she said. " Did you 
see anything outside particularly ... I" 

"A yellow hat," said Minnie promptly^ rather to her own 
astonishment. " I saw a yellow hat." 

" With puce simulated wing under the brim ? Quite a crea- 
tion, but of course only for race-meetings. That would not be 
suitable for description in Sunday Words, would it?" 

" Chronic," said Minnie. " I was wondering who wore that 
sort of thing." 

'* Kit-fox is coming in," went on the lady, ignoring such an 
irrelevant remark. " You might make a note of that. Ten 
guineas as an average. Oh, and there is this." She held up a 
half- tone print of an impossibly tall female encased in fur. 
" This is tail," she remarked, '* very classical and sure to be 
popular in October." 

Minnie put the papers between the leaves of her note-book 
and had an inspiration. 

"That'll do," she said. "I've got a lot of other shows to 
visit." 

The customer emerged, dressed in a smart outdoor suit of 
pale grey-green serge, yellow gloves, and a white felt hat with 
a raked cock-feather. She was buttoning the gloves and did 
not look up, for being in business as a rich man's daughter is 
sometimes a very absorbing occupation. 

The modiste opened the outer door, the customer passed 
through, followed by Minnie. 

" Thanks," the latter said over her shoulder. " Good day." 

Out in the street she paused for a moment to see the departure 
of the customer. An Irish jaunting-car waited at the curb, a 
sumptuous shiny and silver-plated equipage such as Cavan or 
Clare had never seen, attended by a red-haired little groom in 
green coat, white breeches, and yellow-topped boots. He touched 
his hat, leaped into position, and held out his gloved hand for 
his mistress's foot. A little crowd collected, clotted, and melted 
away in a moment, one of those innumerable momentary coagu- 
lations which are a feature of our streets. The lady held her- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 147 

« 

self rigidly erects and her clean-cut yet commonplace features 
conveyed a ntw and startling impression of savage authority 
and power as she raised the whip. The little groom ran rounds 
scrambled np on the off side and assumed the ridiculous attitude 
of his class. The raked cock's feather on the lady's hat touched 
the rosette on his glossy hat. The horse stepped high^ shaking 
bis silver harness-bells, and they vanished among the traffic of 
Begent Street. She was a rich man's daughter. 

Minnie stood looking in that direction for some little time, 
lost in thought. She had no clear indictment in her mind against 
the rich man's daughter. Indeed, I think her attitude was 
strictly neutral. " She's got it, she can do what she likes," might 
express it succinctly. " When I get it, I'll do as I like," was the 
corollary, accompanied by gritted teeth. She had, moreover, 
the acuteness to perceive the keen pleasure a young woman can 
derive from driving in an uncommon turnout through West Lon- 
don. You drew the town, people could see your crest on panel 
and harness, people stopped and looked and " got to know you/' 
as their hideous jargon has it, in course of time. There was skill 
in it too. You had to know your business to drive a horse like 
that safely through the traffic of heavy pair-horse vans, swift 
hansoms, cyclists, and view-obliterating 'buses. The rich man's 
daugliter, I imagine, had Minnie's respect, and this had a certain 
steadying effect upon Minnie herself. These moods of preoccu- 
pation with another person's destiny inevitably react in the 
healthy mind, and teach it something of itself. Minnie had 
nothing of the late Mr. Gooderich's purposeless optimism and 
belief in luck. She thought the chances of wealth coming to her 
were fantastically remote, which is one reason why she never 
attained it. Mrs. Gaynor, in this connection, may be cited as a 
reliable authority when she said to Minnie: 

" Folks often miss what they're after because they didn't wish 
hard enough.'* 

Nevertheless, her brief consideration of life as it might appear 
to the rich man's daughter led her to sound the probable springs 
of the woman's happiness, and this reacting, she found her 
thoughts darting and fluttering round Anthony Gilfillan like 
moths round one of his highly patented metallic filament lamps. 
She was looking into one of those long narrow panels of mirrors 
that were becoming popular for shop-fronts just then, and she 
encountered a pair of rather frightened dark blue ejea, a face 



148 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

whose even pallor was tinged with one of her slow blushes. 
The adventure was calling her^ and not in vain. 

She took out her note-book and proceeded. An autumn nigligi 
of white fleecy wool^ with French blue silk facings and sash^ a 
hat of 6cru straw on which a young ostrich seemed to be sitting, a 
gown that Mrs. Gaynor would have called " a party dress " of 
blue taffeta with beads and transparent sleeves — all these were 
mentioned on a page of the note-book. And then observing a 
clock pointing to four she realised that she was very hungry and 
tired. She was undeniably tired, yet she had merely loitered 
away the day. She did not know that the wear and tear of the 
emotions exhausts one's body and lines one's face much faster 
than the work of a stoker or a navvy; she was too young. She 
had always felt disparagement towards those girls at the fac- 
tory who had told her how " done up " they were on some days, 
they themselves not understanding the cause of their supineness. 
However, food was to be got; the three hours to seven o'clock 
were to be passed somehow. Mrs. Wilfley was to be seen and 
fought with on the usual lines, so Minnie climbed once more 
upon a 'bus whose ultimate destination was Peckham via the 
Strand. 



Ill 

THE meeting was swift^ unexpected in detail^ and satis* 
fjingly spectacular. It did not^ of course^ compare 
with an Irish jaunting car in the least particular^ but 
far surpassed Minnie's imagined encounter (he lifting his 
bat genteelly as he took her hand^ and she smiling in a rather 
fatuous way). Mr. Gilfillan^ it happened^ did not do things 
that way. His agile intellect never missed the smallest oppor- 
tunity of doing a thing in an original and effective manner. 
Minnie was standing near the kerb in front of the Post Office 
when a hansom came up at full speed from Whitehall, the 
Trafalgar Square policeman^ noting the silk hat pushed back, 
the preoccupied stare of the eyes^ the crushed appearance of 
the occupant^ had imagined him to be^ if not in the Cabinet, at 
least an under-secretary, and let him pass tlirough. At first 
the girl did not notice him, and when the doors crashed back 
she stood away to make room for the stranger to alight. He 
leaned out, extended his hand. 

" I'm five minutes late," he said with a smile as she took 
a deep breath and stepped in. The doors crashed together 
again, and half a dozen pairs of curious eyes watched the brisk 
little drama from tlie sidewalk. 

" Paoli's," said Mr. Gilfillan to a massive purplish face which 
gazed down upon them with Olympian indifference from the 
little trap door. The trap fell and they were alone, aproned 
from the world, speeding toward a new mystery called Paoli's. 

"How did you get on with the job?" he asked, lighting a 
fresh cigarette and examining a spot on his face in the mirror. 
Minnie told him. 

"Ah!" he said. "I wondered how that business was done. 
I sec. Though why the readers of Sunday Wordt want — ah, 
well I see that too, I think." 

" They're servants mostly, poor people anyhow, so I suppose 

they fancy themselves a bit when they read about nice things 

ridi people wear." 

149 



150 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



" Yes, and thej make np their own things and get ideas from 
the pictures^ I expect.*' 

" Yes, but what I can't make out is what good that does Bel- 
lamy's/' said Minnie^ Bellamy's having been the shop she had 
visited. 

** Oh, undoubtedly it does tliem good. It must do so. It is 
all advertisement. Every time the name Bellamy is repeated 
in print or in speech, their hold on the public is tightened. In 
the same way, I am paying thousands a year now to journals 
throughout the world simply to repeat my name. In the course 
of a year or two, when any man says Gilfillan, the other man 
will say almost automatically Filament I intend the words 
Gilfillan Filament to become a sort of obsession with mankind. 
You cannot take any isolated case of advertising and say, 
' There, what actual profit do you get from that? ' Yoo must 
take the whole thing in review." 

** It seems to me that there's nothing else but advertising now- 
adays. And when you buy it it falls to pieces," remarked Min- 
nie. " I know mother sent ten shillings once to some firm in the 
country for some stuff for a dress. It only lasted till the first 
shower. ' Conquering-Hero ' Navy Serge they called it. You 
ought to have seen it when tlie rain got it ! " 

'* Ah, that is, unavoidable. There has always been and always 
will be unscrupulous humbugs to catch the unwary. That is 
no argument against advertisement, however. You see, Miss 
Gooderich, you must put yourself in the place of a person who 
lias something to sell. It may be the finest thing of its kind 
that ever existed; if people don't know of it, how can they buy 
it? Another thing. The Great British Public, on whom we all 
live, doesn't really know what it wants. The natural tendency 
of all communities is to be satisfied with what they have. The 
community says, ' Gas is good enough for me ! ' and the man 
with a new burner has to spend thousands convincing them that 
he can give them something better. The community with the 
new burner won't have electric light, they distrust it, it's too 
newfangled. When they've got used to it, I or some other man 
comes along with a new idea by which they can save nine-tenths 
of their current and get two hundred per cent more lighk 
You'd think they'd jump at it, wouldn't you? Well, as I said 
just now, they compel me to form a company of people who 
have money and believe in me, just to spend that money like 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 151 

water in dinning into the public's ears that they will profit bj 
using our Filament. Thej don't know what's good for them 
and so we have to tell tiiem." 

Tliis thrilling and romantic explanation of certain phenomena 
of commercial psychology brought them to Greek Street, where 
Paoli's was situated. The interlude was useful to Minnie to 
adjust her thoughts to hansom-cab conditions^ and she was grate- 
ful for it for that reason. When she jumped down to the pave- 
ment of Greek Street and waited while Mr. Gilfillan satisfied the 
purple-faced driver^ she was ready to meet him on his own 
ground^ aggressively feminine^ an alluring touch of malice in 
her eyes. They entered the ristorante. 

Paoli's was one of those diminutive eating-houses which make 
the metropolis endurable to a cosmopolitan of limited means. 
To give you a six-course dinner for eighteen pence, a flask of 
excellent last year's chianti for a florin^ bread, butter, and table- 
napkin for nothing, and the most cheerful of Milane$e to wait on 
you for whatever you are pleased to give her, were noticeable 
features of Paoli's establishment. It is true that the food was 
the refuse of tlie great clubs of St. James's Street and Picca- 
dilly^ you dipped your knife in the salt-cellar instead of using a 
spoon^ and you used the same knife and fork throughout the six 
courses, exactly as you would in Italy, but the cosmopolitan 
of limited means neither knows nor cares about these things. 
He may be an Irishman who has studied art in Paris, a German 
who studies law in Gower Street, or, like Mr. Gilfillan, a trans- 
planted Scot who has engineered in many lands. Paoli's have 
a welcome for him. Their snowy tablecloths and battered cruets 
stand waiting, the cheerful waitresses flit to and fro, and many 
a man of the above types, looking round while he bolts salted 
almonds and digs his fingers into his crusty roll, has thought 
to himself; " How homelike. I must bring the wife." For Airs. 
Paoli sat enthroned at the desk, rouged, massive of bust, benign. 

" I thought you'd like this place," said Anthony Gilfillan 
as they took a table about halfway down the long narrow room. 
** Personally, I prefer it to those big pandemoniums with brass 
bands and commissionaires, and all the rest of it, don't you ? " 

'* I've never been to any of them," said Minnie. " And it's 
BO use asking me to give an opinion. I suppose this is a foreign 
place, isn't it? " 

Mr. Gilfillan was studying the menu which a freckled French 



152 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

girl had dropped between the knife and fork. Minnie eaught 
the girl's eye for a moment and found it friendly. There lay 
its charm, I suppose^ for Paoli's was a friendly place. Great 
bearded men in evening dress used to go tliere^ neglecting the 
sublime gloom of White's and its multitudinous cutlery, the 
cheap wine recalling tlieir strenuous days of exile and obscurity, 
and when they left, -smoking a cigarette, would drop gold care- 
lessly among the debris of the meal, as a sort of libation to the 
kindly spirit of the place. Minnie responded at once to it, and 
laughed sympathetically when Mr. Gilfillan addressed the girl 
in rapid but evilly pronounced French, and the girl replied in 
still more rapid argot and stood smiling, her underlip between 
her teeth and her grey tycA shifting from one customer to the 
other. 

"What do yon say?'' he asked, handing over the card. 
"Shall we have the lot?" 

" Please don't ask me," she said, a little confused. " You 
know, anything you say will do for me." 

" Well." lie took the card back and examined it judicially. 
" Wliat shall we say, Juliette? Eh, ma mief Diner, Juliette, 
et tnn Toscane/* 

"Chianii? Bien. Flacon, M'sieuf*' rippled Juliette, her 
bands hovering over the table. " Poulet ou canard, M*$ieuf ** 

"Chicken or duck? I think chicken is safer, eh? Bien, ma 
chere, l^oulet, avec dei pots, det asperges et du jambon, eh? " 

" Merci, M*sieu." And Juliette, her red heels clicking on the 
hard wood floor, fled kitchenwards. 

Several disconcerting happenings delayed Minnie's longed-for 
serenity. There was the arrival of a party of men at the next 
table, two of whom wore evening dress and the third was dressed 
in an old tweed Norfolk jacket and straw hat. Then again 
the hon d*csuvreM, a bewildering array of indigestible rubbish 
(so Minnie thought them), gave her food for thought if not 
for body. Juliette would sail up, slap down a pepper-box and 
some toothpicks, smile brilliantly, and whirl round upon a sedate 
Frenchman and his wife, who tucked their napkins under their 
chins, and ascertain their views on the jam omelette. The mir- 
rors reflected to infinity the bisarre advertisements of foreign 
table waters, stuff's called Strega, Salubra, Cognac, and the like, 
daring drawings of a strange race of women who had legs and 
(one regretted) did not mind showing them. And the paiiels 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 155 

between the niinrors were filled with drawings of men and women 
who knew nothing of Maple Road, men and women whose beau- 
tiful brown limbs took tliem over strange hillsi whose red lips 
breathed other air than ours^ and whose fathomless eyes peered 
through dim haunted forests, and down the vista of palaces 
where white peacocks strutted, and ivory girls sat on golden 
thrones. Of course, so blunt is our modem sense of art that 
even cosmopolitans of limited means, even a conventional girl 
like Minnie took all this as mere decorative drivel. " These 
bally artists!" Or if appreciative: "That's clever, eh? 
Rather fussy all those snakes, don't you think? Good motif 
yes, but Lord, man! you can do anything with peacocks, and 
it's all repetition." And so on. Anthony Gilfillan, who had 
reached a conclusion on this as on every other subject under the 
sun, could have explained it very dearly. But just now he was 
explaining something else clearly. 

*' I am not a domestic animal," he was saying over his soup, 
"though tliat may sound strange from a man who has a small 
daughter at home. I draw on all sorts and conditions of people 
for my existence, and when a man does that he cannot be called 
domestic." 

Minnie put down her spoon and wiped her mouth. 

''Is it a game?" she asked bluntly. Anthony Gilfillan 
pulled up short his intellectual chariot, took out the horses and 
put them to bed. 

"It's the most absorbing game in the world, making love 
to everybody and everything in it," he said over the rim of his 
glass. " Here's to my next afi'air ! " And he drank, his eyea 
fixed on hers and twinkling. 

** Now I don't know quite what you mean," she answered, 
lifting her glass and holding it near her lips. " Do you mean 
you're intemted in everything, including me?" 

He nodded. " Just that," he said. 

" And will it be any good to me? " she went on, still holding 
the glass up. For a moment their eyes met. For a moment all 
the nice analysis of his mind was dimmed and softened, all the 
calculation and antagonism of hers was effaced. Tlieir eyes 
met; a spark passed. 

•* It will be the time of your life for you," he said gravely. 
" If you are the girl I think you. Now will you drink? " 

Aiid putting the glass to her lips, she draidc. 



154 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

It was her first glass of wine> and the begmning> in a way, 
of the time of her life. For from this on, she showed less 
of that intractable materialism which had been expressed in her 
intense preoccupation with money. From this on, even in her 
days of degeneration, when Anthony Gilfillan had passed from 
her life and gone on his upward triumphant way, she retained 
something of the joyance of that first red wine. It discovered 
in her a pagan carelessness, all too transitory, which Maple 
Road had had no power to lure into view. 

The sharp tang of the wine whetted her appetite, and she 
ate the fish, the rissole, and the chicken with increasing freedom 
and zest. 

" I like this sort of thing/' she said, reaching for the massive 
pot of French mustard. " This is one of the things I've always 
wanted to go in for." 

She began to tell him of some of the things she wanted to 
go in for, of Mrs. Gaynor and her sententious sayings, of Mrs. 
Wilfley and her curious compound of altruism, selfishness, clever- 
ness, and purblind idiocy. 

'* She's always taking me in a fresh place," Minnie told him. 
" This evening, when I got back and asked her if I'd got enough, 
she said, ' Oh, damn Sunday Wordt/ I told her straight she 
wasn't goin' to danm me, and she got off the sofa where she'd 
been lying and put her hands on my shoulders. It does make 
me wild, that sort of thing." 

And what did she say? " asked Mr. Gilfillan. 
Ask me something easier to start with! A lot about how 
upset her nerves were, and she didn't always have command 
over herself. And then, after she'd lain down again — fetch 
her fur slippers and take her shoes off! What beats me," con- 
tinued Minnie, " is how she gets me to do it. I didn't feel like 
taking her shoes off. I felt a good deal more like smacking her 
face." 

** She certainly has a personality," agreed Anthony. 

" Personality ! I'll give her credit for this, that she can do 
the creeping Jesus turn better than anybody else I've ever seen. 
And we had several holy-willies up at the factory." 

Mr. Gilfillan did not reply in words, but his expression showed 
he was interested in Minnie's view-point. She looked round 
hastily at the three at the next table, who were deep in their 
own concerns, put her elbows on the table and her chin in her 



«< 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 155 

hands. ''I haven't said anything wrong, have I?" she asked. 
He shook his head. 

** When I met 70a on the stairs^ yon know," she continued, 
*' when I first asked you " — he nodded — " if Mrs. Wilfley was 
a bit cracked, you laughed and said no she wasn't. Didn't you? " 

He nodded again, pouring out more wine. 

*'Well, in a way you were right, I s'pose, but for all that 
she's funny. Why has she taken such a fancy to me? She 
knows heaps o' people. They were coming in all day yester- 
day." 

" Oh, that is a matter that can never be threshed out by talk- 
ing. When you come to think it out we always want to give a 
false reason for our likes and dislikes except the one case of 
man and girl who fall in love. For instance, a man likes another 
man and he explains it by saying they have similar tastes. A 
girl likes another girl and puts it down to their common ideas in 
dress and books or games. A boy likes another boy and is not 
even allowed to explain it at all, the attraction is so objection- 
able. Now all this is due to misconception. Each one of us 
has an attraction for certain other persons irrespective of sex, 
age, or race. I believe tliat even when there is intense friend- 
ship between the members of the same family it is due to the 
mysterious attraction which is called love, affection, palship, 
affinity, and all the rest of it. You can understand? " 

Minnie, sipping her wine, her third glass, smiled but shook 
her head. 

"Well, you've got some idea of what we mean by mag- 
netism?" She nodded. "Very good. Certain dead things, or 
things we call dead, have a curious attraction for other things, 
just as — but can you imagine what I mean by chemical affin- 
ity ? " Again she nodded. 

" I did chemistry when I was at school," she said. 

"Better still. Don't keep on telling me you don't under- 
stand these things. You are better equipped for learning than 
a doxcn Mrs. Wilfleys. Just as, I was saying, certain chemical 
bodies and compounds have a mysterious affinity for other bodies. 
Sometimes the attraction is slow yet sure, sometimes it is vio- 
lently sudden, as an explosion. And it's just the same with 
people, only yft don't know enough about people to say what will 
happen when they meet. Sometimes it is just repulsion, some- 
times slow attraction, and sometimes a violent explosion. And 



156 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

it's often the case when they attract each other most violently 
that you get the most violent explosion." 

"That's your idea, is it?" she said, marking the tablecloth 
with her finger-nail. ** As it happens, I haven't any affinity, as 
you call it, for Mrs. WUfley." 

" Did I say you had ? I dare say, as a matter of fact, that 
you hardly know yourself well enough yet to decide who or 
what you like. Mrs. Wilfley, on the other hand, has a certain 
amount of experience of the world which " 

" Oh, bother her," interrupted Minnie brusquely. " Let's talk 
about somebody else. Talk about yourself, will you? I'm not 
— interested in her peculiar ideas." 

** You won't be bored ? It used to be a bad habit of mine, 
when I was a yoxmg chap, to talk about myself." 

'* No, I won't be bored. I like to hear about people who 
do things." 

And he began to tell her. He took her back to his child- 
hood, a childhood spent on the road when his father, a boot- 
maker, tramped southward from his Fifeshire home to London, 
finally taking a tiny shop in Stoke Newington when Stoke New- 
ington was surrounded by green fields. He told her of his early 
penury, when he tramped at dawn to an engineering works in 
East London, down by Thames side, to his long day's work, 
and tramped home again at night worn out in body and mind. 
He told her how he toiled by smoky lamplight, how he plodded 
through the dark ill-lit streets, how a dream came to him of 
a City of Light, where night was like day, and how he held that 
dream through years of bitter struggle. He told her of his first 
fruitless strivings to get his knowledge of electricity, when books 
were dear and polytechnics only just beginning; how, when he 
had risen to be a leading hand, he had been sent away to China 
to assist in putting up some machinery, and thereby saved a 
hundred pounds. He told her how he had come home, working 
his passage on an old tramp steamer, a wheezy box of corrup- 
tion, a common sailor before the mast, how he walked the London 
streets looking for a job, so that he might save his capital for 
his scheme. He told her how he had met the woman he married^ 
his landlady's daughter, how he had lost his job the day after 
he was married, and the ensuing bickerings of his mother-in-law. 
He told her how the mother-in-law had died suddenly and left 
him with a sick wife and baby and a houseful of lodgers to look 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 157 

after. How he had taken off his coat and set to work at keep- 
ing a lodging-house in grim earnest, how he had succeeded, tak- 
ing the next honse and working that too, finally selling the busi- 
ness for three hundred pounds. Then he told her of his wife's 
death of pleurisy and the addition of the hundred pounds of 
insurance money to his slowly accumulating hoard. Then came 
his sister into the story, a sweet-tempered girl who had never 
met her affinity and who came to live with him and mother the 
little girl while he went out into the world again. For he had 
never given up his dream of a City of Light, studying French 
and German that he might be apprised of all the science of 
Europe, even groping after the perfect stuff he believed was 
somewhere in tlie world. He told how he had gone out to 
Buenos Ayres, then a sprawling, imtidy city of crime, a sink 
where flowed all the dregs and refuse of humanity, a place 
where a dark street meant a knife-stab and every ditch floated 
a corpse. Of his lonely life out there, first a driver on the new 
railway, then water clerk to a Polish merchant who was coining 
money in various obscure ways. Then came his turn of fortune, 
when he met a mining engineer who wanted a manager on a 
new mine; of his hermit life in the mountains, master of hun- 
dreds of polyglot desperadoes. But it was good money he was 
earning then, and the sister in London received half of it every 
quarter, until she begged him to come home. But he did not 
come home. He had found something in the mines, something 
his long hours of research among dry German books of science 
told him was worth looking into. And look into it he did, with 
eyes tliat blazed with a furious passion for knowledge, with acid 
and battery and tiny forge he looked into it until he saw the 
thing he sought, the thing he had meant to find. Then came the 
time for action. He came home and began afresh, learning step 
by step the tortuous ways of finance, floating a small company to 
get the capital to purchase the options on the areas where he 
knew he could get the precious stuff he had found. It had been 
a stiff fight, the business of convincing a few Englishmen that 
he held the secret of mighty wealth, but he had done it, living 
almost from hand to mouth, borrowing here, borrowing there, 
sinking all his tiny savings into the venture, risking everything 
and luring men by his gift of speech against their cooler judg- 
ment. It was all, he reiterated, a matter of personality. If 
men saw you were in dead earnest, if they felt you believed in 



158 CASUALS OF THE SEA * 

yourself^ they would do the most extraordinary things. One 
man^ a donr and cautious Scotsman^ had sold Consols to invest 
with him. Another had done something even more reckless for 
an Englishman^ he had sold houses and bought shares. As a 
rule, he said, an Englishman would not sell houses to secure 
an option on Paradise. And then, when he had given lectures, 
had written article after article, had fought single-handed against 
the non-metallic filament clique, he had promoted his international 
company, had travelled all over Europe, over Germany, France, 
Spain, and the Low Countries, seeking out men of capital to 
watch his interests in their native lands, men of brains ready 
to manufacture when he gave the word. Now it was all done, 
the company was an accomplished fact, shares were being bought 
even by investors, by brokers and directors of big electrical con- 
cerns, the underwriters were sanguine and financial editors were 
asking for particulars. He was safe now to a certain extent, 
and yet, he admitted, he regarded this as only the beginning of 
his career. She opened her eyes at this rather, but he repeated 
that it was, in his opinion, only the beginning. 

"Why?" she asked, as she stirred her coffee. " YouTl have 
bags of money now, I s'pose. Surely you don't want to go all 
through it again? " 

Money?" he said, his eyes strained with the long redtaL 

Money! I'm not doing this just for money. It*s something 
quite different I'm after. No man could have done what I've 
done just for money." 

" Of course it means a good position," she admitted a litde 
doubtfully. 

He turned to call for his bill and to hide a look of disappoint- 
ment which he could not help crossing his face. 

** When I first came to London from the mines," he said, 
turning to Minnie again, " I began a book which I shall call 
Success, hy a Successful Man. Well, in that book I am not even 
mentioning money. I am of the opinion that the man who 
regards riches as success is damned. It is not even power or 
fame, ' position ' as you call it, because when I began that book 
I had neither. Money and power and position are only the 
outward signs of what a man is. The rich fool, the titled ass^ 
have no interest for me. It is the man with Ideas who has vaj 
love and respect. Ideas are the prime mover of this world we 
live in; without them we are mere masses of inert ineptitude*" 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 159 

*' Has a woman got to have ideas to get your — respect? " she 
asked gravely. 

He was paying his bill, and she watched him carefully count- 
ing the change left from his sovereign. 

"A woman?" he repeated abstractedly, slipping a shilling 
under his plate. "A woman! Let us get out of here and go 
to a music-hall, and I'll tell you what a woman must have." 

*' I should like to know/' she said as he opened the door. 



IV 

DURING the few minutes while the hansom was whirl- 
ing them towards Leicester Square^ their brains hum- 
ming with wine^ coffee, and the motion through the 
glittering streets, they did not speak. He was tak- 
ing her to the Empire, another haunt of the cosmopolitan of 
limited means. The girl was excited more than she knew by the 
story Anthony Gilfillan had told her. Something within her 
responded to the indomitable will of the man. Pride in knowing 
him and being his confidant, pride in his winning battle with dul- 
ness and inertness, pride engendered by the mere swift motion 
of the cab; these were the motifs of her exaltation as she jumped, 
almost into his arms, at the entrance. 

Men and women, some in evening dress, were going up the 
great gilded staircases with them, solitary men of distinguished 
appearance, men carelessly dressed and smoking pipes, young 
men in groups, exquisites smoking cigars and laughing uproar- 
iously at some inane smoking-room jest. There were solitary 
women, vociferously attired, making their way up to the prome- 
nades, women of undeniable beauty and grace who lived the 
strenuous lives of West-End courtesans. These scanned Minnie 
with a glance that seemed never to pause, yet which saw every- 
thing, from her sailor hat to her worn low-heeled shoes. And 
wlien they pushed through the doors into the great gilded audi- 
torium, Minnie saw yet more women of this type moving slowly 
to and fro, leaning on the backs of the seats, passing into the 
lounges, a ceaselessly moving kaleidoscope of women. 

Then went to seats near the front of the circle, and Minnie 
found herself gazing for the first time in her life at a ballet. 
For a while she sat sOent, stupefied by the blaze of colour, the 
intricacy of the movements, the sensuousness of the music 

" A ballet," he replied to her vague query. " You sec, there 

are no words, you know. Everything is expressed by gestures 

and movements of the body and limbs. I am sorry we missed 

the beginning of it.'* 

" What's it about? " she whispered timidly. 

160 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 161 

** They call it " he looked at the programme in his hand> 

"* Parthenia, and it seems to be a sort of review of Woman 
throughout the ages. This is a duel^ I think. Yes^ you see^ 
they draw." 

The scene was the illumined court of a castle of old Italy. 
In and out«of the many portals there danced fantastic figures^ 
on balcony and terrace cooed lovers^ in silk and velvety singing 
a sweet minor love-song to the lilt of the viol and the soul- 
piercing scream of the flute. In the foreground two men stood 
confrpnting one another with long daggers^ swaying to and fro, 
advancing and retreating, their faces drawn with agony, the 
while a bevy of fair women stood and watched. One oJf the 
men was clad in the absurd garments of a mediaeval jester and 
poetaster, tliose poor devils with a knack for repartee and sting- 
ing verse who followed a ducal court as boys turn cart-wheels 
behind a char-a-banc, and his mask, just flung aside, grinned 
from the stones where it lay. His adversary stood stiffly angular 
and stark, a silhouette in grim black, his sardonic features 
writhen and set, his dagger flashing in the many-coloured lights. 
And as they met thus, a woman among those who watched, a 
woman superb in body and face, whose dark hair was a mid- 
night of starry gems, on whose alabaster breast there blazed a 
cross of diamonds, came towards them with light step and 
rhythmic motion, indicating in the subtle hieroglyphs of her 
art woman's hot passion and fearful joy in bloodshed. In lan- 
guorous measure the music swept on, the fantastic figures in 
their quaint garbings flitted in and out among the fairy lights, 
the daggers darted to and fro, as the assailants stabbed and 
stabbed until at length, soft thuddings of the drums heralding 
a change of motive, the black phantom sprang and struck, and 
the merry-andrew in his gay-coloured dress staggered and fell 
dead. And then the music in crepitating crescendos Iield the 
audience steady on the crest of the emotional wave while the 
woman, the Parthenia of the ages, flung herself in wild abandon 
upon the victor and received his dagger in her breast. 

As the curtain fell and the music crashed and thundered and 
the audience clapped louder and louder, Minnie found herself 
withdrawing her hand in some confusion from Anthony's, whither 
it had fluttered in the excitement of the moment. The dull red 
colour slowly flooded her face and neck as she sat back in her 
seat and waited for him to speak and break the spell. 



162 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

But for a space^ he did not speak. He himself had been some- 
what carried away by the magic of theatric art^ inured as he was 
to Wagner and the intensity of Spanish-Italian opera. The 
dramatic anticlimax^ the cruel contrast between the etuemble and 
the episode^ the fidelity to the primitive passion of humanity 
of it, had gone home, and he was silent. He sat there in his 
favourite crushed attitude, his deep eyes staring moodily at the 
figures on the curtain, unconscious of the girl at his side. A 
movement of her shoulder where it touched his roused him. 

" There, in part," he remarked, *' is what I think a woman 
must be." A memory of the lodging-house keeper's daughter 
flitted before him for a moment, but he ignored it and con- 
tinued : " There too is what many women are, evil in life, yet 
redeeming everything in death. Parthenia! H'm! The man 
who wrote this thing out has brains. What d'you think?" he 
added suddenly, rousing still more and taking her hand again. 
" What do yoM think — of it all > " 

And she, with softened features downcast and the slowly deep- 
ening colour flooding her body, said nothing in reply, for it was 
one of the few moments in her life when she thought nothing, 
only felt. 

"You're not bored? You're glad you came?" he asked 
quickly. 

" Rather ! " she answered in a quick breathless whisper. 
" Don't — don't hold my hand, please." 

But he held it, and the curtain rising as the lights dimmed, 
continued to hold it for some time. The new scene was a F^te 
Champ^tre, such as you see in Antoine Watteau's " Prince of 
Court Painters." But it was Watteau in movement, Watteau 
interlaced with light music and that wonderful thing which is 
neither movement nor music nor colour — the play of emotion 
on the human face. To show folly was the artist's intention 
here it seemed, and to provide a way of gradual descent from 
the high emotion of the previous adventure. For here woman 
was soft and of a sugary pinkness, she sat upon the mossy 
banks while satined young gentlemen bent in adoration before 
her. Through the glades of the great green forest the sullen 
red of the chateau roof could be seen glowing, boys and girls in 
tinsel dresses pursued one another with gilded darts, the pink 
arms of the ladies twined picturesquely about the necks of the 
satined young gentlemen, who were resigning themselves to • 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 168 

fatnre of endless caress^ when the clear cry of a horn tore across 
the gossamer tissue of the music^ and the king entered with his 
foresters and gentlemen. And there came the change as this 
king of theirs, in liis feathered hat and laced shirt and diamond 
shoe-buckles came swaggering by. Each lady^ springing to her 
feet, made her deep obeisance to his majesty, and majesty^ offer- 
ing his hand to kiss, signified by a gesture that he would accept 
her company. And as he passed into the forest again towards 
the red-roofed chateau, he was surrounded by the fair false crea- 
tures who had smiled and languished with the satined young 
gentlemen so short a time ago. And the pretty effeminate affair 
came to an end with soft lamenting music as the children pelted 
the dolorous satined youths with their gilded darts and tinsel 
balls. 

Instinctively his hold of her hand had loosened as they watched 
this ballet of artificial and false sentiment. The mind some- 
times reacts very swiftly to external stimulus. If he had not 
let her hand slip away she would have read into the retention 
some of the insincerity of the scene before them. And he would 
have thought her a little common if she had left her hand there 
indefinitely, as common as if she had snatched it from his grasp 
at the first. The grossest of men and women, however dense 
and obdurate in response to eye and voice, are marvellously 
sensitive to touch. It is a circuit of infinitesimal resistance, yet 
capable of carrying currents of prodigious volume and pressure. 
Not for nothing is the hand-clasp, the shoulder-touch, the waist- 
girdling arm^ the kiss, held by us to be potent factors of drama. 
Physical touch is indeed the coarsest, yet at times the subtlest, 
method of communication betwixt soul and soul. 

" Do you like it? " he asked. " Is it like anything that you 
had imagined ? *' 

" I'd never thought what it would be like," she answered, 
smiling. " I like it though. It takes you out of yourself, doesn't 

it?" 

" That is the intention. We come here to get away from 
ourselves, our ordinary office-worn selves, and see some of the 
light and colour of life. For myself I like this place, and I like 
the ballet. For yon mustn't imagine you can go anywhere in 
London and fijid things like this." He indicated the stage. 
''Most of these ideas come from the Continent, where ideas 
are more common than in England. The people who live in 




<< 



164 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the suburbs^ now, would think all this very immoral, wouldn't 
they?" 

I suppose it is/' said Minnie soberly. 

Indeed it is nothing of the sort. It is just what you bring 
to it and no more. Art by itself can only produce art. When 
the sun shines on a swamp and breeds disease, you don't blame 
the sun, do you? Well, it is just the same with this sort of thing. 
Because some people abuse Art, that is no reason why we should 
not enjoy it." 

" Then you'd do this ? come here, anyway ? You think reli- 
gious people, and people like Mrs. Wilfley, are wrong? " 

" Mrs. Wilfley ? " he queried. " Why do you couple her with 
religious people ? " 

Why, would she come here ? " 

Just as often as she can get some one to take her," he replied, 
with a slight smile. 

" But she writes for religious papers. That book of hers is 
full of religious ideas." 

" Yes, but . . . You don't understand, I suppose. People 
can't be labelled, my dear girl. Give yourself a label, now." 

"Me?" 

" Yes. I have here in my pocket, let us suppose, a lot of 
labels. You must choose one. Religious, Proud, Humble, 
Moral, Immoral, Careless, Strict, and so on. Which one would 
you pin on yourself?" 

Minnie knit her brows. The curtain was up again and a 
white clown, his eyes and mouth crimsoned, was busy with his 
patter. She felt the force of her companion's argument, but 
he could not go far enough to apply the argument to every one 
she knew. The natural indolence of the human mind, together 
with its natural cattishness, confirms the habit of labelling people 
and makes it irresistible. 

" Mind, a label need not be a libel," Anthony put in, and 
she nodded and went on thinking. 

" It's not so easy done," she decided. " I suppose it's be- 
cause we know too much about ourselves." 

" Partly. Also because we are too close to ourselves to sort 
ourselves out. But what you will find, if you keep your eyes 
open, is that labels are of no use. You must meet each person 
as something unique in the world." 

'* Oh, there's a lot alike," she insisted. 



«< 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 16S 



" To yon." 
" Really." 



To you/ 

Really.' 

You will find your mistake/ 

"Does it matter?" 

" Ah ! *' He patted his knee softly. " You are a strange 
mixture. I don't wonder you hesitated to label yourself." 

" What label would you give a girl like me.^ " she asked. 

" Well, you see, you wouldn't take any joy in watching two 
men fight for you, would you ? " 

She shook her head slowly. 

" Nor would you run away from me if a King or a Grand 
Duke took a fancy to you ? " he persisted. 

She looked at him narrowly for a moment, then dropped her 
eyes towards her hands. He laughed softly. 

" What label should I give you ? Who can say f You are 
unique, with a uniqueness that responds to my own, and there 
is tiie charm. Shall we go out, or would you ratlier see the rest 
of the show } " 

" As you like. I've had enough if you have. It's rather hot 
here." 

They rose and walked slowly past the banks of faces watch- 
ing the Clown, faces set in a smile of good-natured tolerance, 
breaking into ripples of laughter when he made his points. 
They walked through the slow-moving procession of the prom- 
enade to the exit, and Minnie's eyes were busy. 

" Wliat are all those girls ? " she asked as they went down the 
staircase. "Just walking about like that.^" 

They were out in the street before he answered. 

" Don't you know ? " 

She bent her head forward in a quick way she had and peered 
at him. 

" Oh ! " she said, and made no further remark. They walked 
on each busy with thoughts, each trying to recapture a certain 
mood which the departure had banished. She had developed 
enormously in the last three hours, her range of emotion had 
doubled, and she felt as though she were standing in front of 
a door waiting for it to be opened. And he, who had opened 
many doors, sometimes with a touch, sometimes with a sledge- 
hammer, was pausing as if in irresolution, liis hand on the latch. 
He glanced at her. 

She was walking with her head raised slightly, her small 



166 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

finely moulded chin thrust oat. Had she been merely preco- 
ciously coy she would have had her eyes bent on the pavement. 
So they walked on under the stars that looked down on the 
multitudinous uproar of the great city^ two souls among millions^ 
waiting for that supretne moment that comes^ we know not when^ 
" like a thief in the nighty" when our lips are touched with the 
divine flame and our hearts bum within us. Terrible and sub- 
lime thought) that every moment is supreme for some man and 
woman^ every hour the apotheosis of some passion! Who can 
remain unawed by this colossal pageant of human love? Who 
can doubt again the divinity of his kind if this vision have 
been vouchsafed to him? 

But the moment was not yet. Through Chandos Street up 
through the narrow winding Strand^ the Strand we strive in 
vain to visualise^ now it is gone^ they walked through the press 
of people streaming homeward from the theatres. The night 
was noisy with wheels and hoofs^ whistles and laughter^ and the 
raucous yelps of newsboys. " Grave News from Pretoria " was 
the burden of the last^ Pretoria where an old man sat at a council 
boards an ominous enigma. Strange to say, Anthony GilfiUan 
did not buy a paper; he was occupied with other things. There 
was a lull in the roar when they reached the Law Courts^ only 
the lumbering 'buses and scurrying hansoms Interfered with the 
solemnity of the night. They looked up at the great gold face 
of the clock^ and as they looked the hour of eleven tolled. The 
eleventh hour! A lad hot from Fleet Street rushed past them 
at top speedy his poster bearing the words '* At the Eleventh 
Hour/* 

They turned into the dark entrance to the Inn. The gates 
were closed^ the girl noted in dismay and laid hold of his arm. 
But he, knowing the custom of the place, jangled the bell, and 
they stood, dwarfed among the giant shadows, till the night 
porter opened to them. An old withered man he was, bent 
and oblivious, a remnant of City wreckage washed into this quiet 
nook each night, to open to late-comers and patrol the dark 
quadrangle. 

She turned to Anthony, but he touched her gently. 

" Just to the door," he whispered, and they went on through 
the chapel archway and across the cobbles to her door. 

" Here," she said. " No more, please." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 167 

He put his arm about her^ holding her face up to his in the 
darkness. 

" What is it — what is it? " she whispered hoarsely, not know- 
ing what she said. 

*' Here — you remember? — we met/' he answered, and kissed 
her. 



WHEN a girl is in love, when she wakes in the 
morning with a thrill of unreasonable happiness, 
the material effects, trifling tliough they be com- 
pared with the emotional cataclysm itself, are apt 
to prove trying to third persons of normal and limited perception. 
If she be a maid, things of worldly import, things like beds and 
salt-cellars, the corners of window-panes and the wicks of lamps, 
slip through her memory like ashes through a sieve. If a mis- 
tress, she has a wider range of catastrophe and generally uses 
it to the full. In either case, she presents to the third person 
a spectacle of tragic incom]>etence and irreclaimable futility. 
Mrs. Wilfley, whose descriptive powers drew largely from an 
apparently inexhaustible stock of clxchis, had said once that it 
was " very beautiful to watch Love dawning in young hearts," 
that one felt instinctively (she meant intuitively), " that one 
had not lived utterly in vain, if one had been privileged, even 
in a trifling way, to unobtrusively assist some shy lover to the 
temple of Hymen." 

Perhaps because Minnie was not shy, perhaps because her 
previous efforts in this direction had been chiefly imaginary, 
Mrs. Wilfley 's language did not fit the situation during break- 
fast. That blend of calculation and sentiment, honesty and 
obliquity, fluency and ignorance, which eventually lifted her to 
eminence in journalism did not choke the development of fem- 
inine curiosity. Slie had been informed with disconcerting 
brevity, that Minnie was going out with Mr. GilfiUan. Her 
desire to learn how the evening had been passed might have 
been satisfied in peace and quietness and had abstained from a 
certain patronage, which arose from her conception of herself 
as an intellectual. She conceived herself as unbending to take 
an interest in the child. To her pain and mortification, the 
child behaved unfilially, blew up in fact, and refused details. 

" I don't see," said the child after the explosion, wandering 

168 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 169 

as she spoke into a dreamland of ineffable vagueness^ " I don't 
see — what it's got — to do — with you, with anybody." 

" You are very brusque/* said the lady, retreating into clichS. 

"Eh? What's that?" asked the child dreamily. 

" To be plain, it means rude," was the nettled reply, as Mrs. 
Wilfley looked into the teapot. " And quite apart from that, 
it's ridiculous to make a secret of it." Mrs. Wilfley shook her- 
self as though to shake off the contagion of the girl's mood. 
" Ridiculous ! Tony will tell me all about it. He's a dear old 
friend of mine. Tells me all his affairs." 

Minnie brought her gaze back to the realities of life and 
rested it upon Sirs. Wilfley. 

** Then there's no need for me to say anything about it," 
remarked the girl, and rose from the table. She saw Mrs. Wilfley 
gathering herself together for a spring, so to say, a spring which 
generally landed her with a splash in a pool of sentiment, and 
Minnie dreaded the drenching. 

" What is it to-day ? " she asked in a matter-of-fact tone. 
" Give me something to type. I get sick of that line about com- 
ing to the aid of the party." 

Mrs. Wilfley, switched away from the pool, took the chance 
of peace with alacrity. 

" Here is my interview with Lady Gophir. Do you think you 
could make it out? It's rather abbreviated, you know. W 
means ' who ' or * which ' according to the sense." Here she 
showed Minnie a sheaf of pages torn from a reporter's note- 
book. "And I've just scribbled in my impressions. This is the 
beginning," showing the last sheet but one, " and this is the 
end." And she held up the first. 

Minnie examined the pages without enthusiasm. 

" You can improve it if you care to try," Mrs. Wilfley said 
brightly, as she left the room to dress. " I was too exhausted 
last night to do anything with it." 

"Anything else?" asked Minnie, possibly in irony. Even 
she could see a hard day's work deciphering the interview, to 
say nothing of the proposed improvement, to which no doubt 
Mrs. Wilfley's work was susceptible. 

When Mrs. Wilfley was gone, after trembling for a moment 
on the verge of heart-to-heart monologues, Minnie sat in front 
of the typewriter, her chin on her hands, thinking, and, as was 
her habit, talking to herself. Her eyes were fixed on the square 



170 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

of blue sky visible where the top of the window was open, a 
square of blue sky invaded at the comer by the grey beautiful 
roof of the Record Office. It was a bright^ blustering autumn 
day, a day to call one out to the wind-swept country roads where 
horse-chestnuts were falling in showers and blackberries shone 
like jet beneath their leaves. No day to sit in a chair pussling 
at some other person's hasty scrawls. Who was Lady Gophir, 
that her unhealthy preoccupation with fallen women should be 
of interest to any one? 

" I wish it was tea-time," Minnie said to herself softly. " Oh^ 
I wish it was tea-time ! '* She paused, and her eyes that were 
watching a white doud crossing the blue square glinted with 
laughter. ''So Tony tells her all his love-affairs, doen he? 
What a baby in long clothes she thinks I am! Every girl fibs 
like that when she wants to cut you out. I must ask him some 
time on Saturday. Let's see. This is Thursday, to-morrow's 
Friday; two days to get through. Oh, well!" 

She rose, seized the manuscript and dropped into Mrs. Wil- 
fley's Chesterfield, frowning to concentrate her mind on the writ- 
ing. But it was of no use. Her mind refused to concentrate. 
A mental view of Charing Cross Post Office at six o'clock con- 
tinually interposed itself between her eyes and the paper. And 
then there was a step on the stair and a gentle knock at the 
door. She stepped to the door and opened it to a young man 
with a fair moustache and a high double collar. He hesitated in 
the manner of one who meets a stranger unexpectedly. 

"Er— Mrs. Wilfley — is she in?" 

"Just gone out." 

"Well, I called about a little matter — p'raps you can deal 
with it." He took a long envelope out of his breast podLet, 
drew forth a strip of typed paper and began. 
Come in," said Minnie, and he did so. 
It's on business, I s'pose," she added. 

" That's so. , You see," he put down his hat on a chair and 
showed her the long strip, " it's this thing she done for us for 
Reaver's Stomach Mixture. It's all right except it don't go into 
details enough. We want more medical terms, you understand. 
That's what we want, more medical terms, more realism." 

" Oh," said Minnie sapiently. " I see. I'll teU her." 

" F'rinstance," went on the young man. "This bit •ere,** 
he indicated the bit with his pencil^ " it wants expandln*. She 



€4 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 171 

mi^t make another par out o' that, I reckon. Somethink about 
the gastric juices and the parenchyma. See? " 

"Oh, yes, I see/' said Minnie again. "Anything else?" 

" Yes. This 'ere/' he indicated another passage lower down. 
" Now that's a bit over people's 'eads, that is. You can't put 
that on the back of toilet rolls, you can't reeUy." 

" Back of what? " said Minnie, forgetting herself. 

"Well, I know it ain't the sort of thing to discuss with a 
lady, but, you see, Mrs. Wilfley she's doin' the job and we can't 
let it stand as it is. I've made a note of it 'ere, see? A bit 
more popular like, more snap to it." 

"Anything else?" 

"Yon want ter get rid o' me, I can see that/' he replied, 
quissing. " Busy ? " 

" Yes, rather." 

" Oh, I see. Well, that's all. If youTl just tell Mrs. Wilfley 
and ask her to let us 'ave it by Monday, will you? Nice little 
place she's got here. Just suit me. 'Andy for the business. 
You 'ere for some time, I s'pose? " 

" Very likely." 

" Well. P'raps we'll see more of each other. What's on to- 
night? Anything special? I'm on most all free lists, y' know. 
Care for a run roun' the Tiv'li? " 

Minnie regarded him with composure. She was admirably 
adapted in temperament and experience to deal with him. His 
was a type that she knew well. 

" Yon are rapid? " she remarked, almost as though in admira- 
tion for his unexampled celerity. 

" Yes, it's a 'abit. See a chance o' doin' a bit o' business, 
I'm on it like a bird. Same with the ladies. Always ask, is my 
motter; they can't eat you. As a rule, y' know, ladies take it 
as it's meant — kindly." 

"Mrs. Wilfley, does she ?" 

"Oh, no! She's an auth'ress, yer see. Besides, she knows 
the guvner. I always keep off the grass — good policy." 

" Oh, she knows the guvner, does she? Does she go out with 
him?" 

He opened his eyes and blew out his cheeks. 

"You bet!" he said slowly. "Why, didn't you know that? 
'E's away just now, you see, on the Continen*. Any time you 
care to look roun' for a cup o' tea! " He took out a card and 



172 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

gave it to her, a card giving an address in Whitefriar's Street 
She took it and put it with the strip of paper. 

" AU right," she said. " 111 tell her." 

He looked at her, the expression on his common smart face 
changing from easy familiarity to guarded indecision. His 
speech lost its careless trip and grew official again. 

" Of course, anything I may say's in confidence between 
friends, I 'ope.^" He looked at his watch. "Well, I must be 
off. Got to see a man at Shep'ard's Bush at twelve." He took 
his hat and smiled at her doggishly. " So I'll leave the lovely 
lady in her lonely tower, eh ? " 

He made an abortive effort to shake hands, but she did not 
move until he had reached the door. She stood there for a mo- 
ment as he went down the stairs, and saw him pause at the bend, 
look up, smile doggishly again, hesitate as though he might 
return, and finally disappear. She closed the door and went 
over to her work again. 

It was very mysterious to her, and she decided she must ask 
Anthony. She had an idea that he knew a good deal more 
about Mrs. Wilfley than Mrs. Wilfley knew about him. She 
had never reflected that advertisements did not write them- 
selves. That Mrs. Wilfley did this sort of work seemed, for all 
that, strange. 

" Reaver's Stomach Mixture ! " she repeated to herself, her 
lips curling a little. Mrs. Wilfley's enthusiasm for this pro- 
prietary quack medicine was extreme, to judge by her eulogy on 
the strip. In her opinion it was, next to Magna Charta and the 
English Constitution, the most precious element of national life. 
You felt, on reading her burning words, that if some one died 
in defence of Reaver's Stomach Mixture, Mrs. Wilfley would 
not have been surprised. Nor would she. She would have 
promptly interested herself in a memorial to the hero. 

Frederick the Great once said," so ran the opening passage, 
that an army was like a snake, it travelled on its stomach. 
Thif is as true of civilians as of soldiers, as true of the Battle of 
Life as of the Battle of Trafalgar. How true it is only those 
know who have dropped behind in the march and are losing heart 
for the struggle. Why is this? . . . See how insidious are the 
means by which the Foul Spectre Disease makes his way into the 
Fortress of the Soul. . . . Even when the enemy is in full pos^ 
session, the wretched victim is unaware of his condition.** 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 178 

Minnie read the advertisement through and laid it on the 
desk by the typewriter. The humour of the tiling did not strike 
her. She had not troubled to think who wrote advertisements, 
and> now that she knew, she dismissed the matter from her mind. 
It was of minor importance. As far as she knew she had neither 
Gastric Catarrh, Gastric Colic, Incipient Cancer, nor Gravel. 
Reaver's Mixture was irrelevant. " Are your Nerves worn to 
rags?" chanted Mrs. Wilfley in fat capitals at the head of one 
paragraph; but Minnie felt no response, no desire to throw her- 
self unreservedly upon Messrs. Reaver's hands and try the effi- 
cacy of a trial bottle at one shilling and three halfpence. She 
took up the interview with Lady Gophir again. Did Lady 
Gophir take Reaver's Stomach Mixture? she wondered. Was it 
part of the great scheme for reclaiming Magdalens to dose them 
with that Golden Elixir? Certainly she must ask Anthony Gil- 
fiUan some questions. And when Minnie came to that conclusion 
for the tenth time in the course of an hour, she smiled and forgot 
the interview. There was a more interesting interview to pon- 
der over, an interview that would begin by Charing Cross Post 
Office at six, and she sat for an hour dreaming. 

Was she mad enough to believe that Anthony Gilfillan, a man 
who was on the eve of making a large fortune, would marry her? 
Was she besotted enough with pride to figure herself as mistress 
of a houseful of servants, stepmother to a girl at a boarding 
school, tlic equal of other financiers' wives? 

To tell the truth she was not. She was a young girl for 
whom marriage had no intrinsic allurement. Nor had she an 
exaggerated opinion of her sway over men. She was not a fool 
or an idiot, and she would have been one or the other if she 
had been bashful and amazed because Anthony had kissed her. 
His attitude might possibly be enigmatic, but she knew her own 
feelings well enough, though she lacked the ability to analyse 
them. His intentions were part of him, and therefore acceptable 
to her. His dethronement from the imperial chair of Tiberius 
had not degraded him to the level of a common man. He was 
still of the royal Hood, and therefore entitled to dispose of her 
future. 

She closed her eyes, leaning back in the seat, and gave herself 
up to the genuine pleasure of anticipation. To-night would be 
happiness certainly, with talk of many things, including Mrs. 
Wilfley^ but Saturday would be cruciaL He had mentioned that 



174 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

he always spent the week-end out of town. He was^ he said^ 
one of the inventors of the week-end o«t of town. He had told 
her it was delightful for him to get back on Monday to the brac- 
ing air of the Metropolis after the Sunday stagnation. She had 
a tingling sensation of terror and pleasure blended as she thought 
of Saturday. Her mind evaded again and again the question, 
"What will you do? " She quieted it by trying to think what 
he was doing at that moment, and the logical counter-problem 
roused her. What was she doing .^ Nothing. After all, she 
was supposed to do as she was told if she wanted to be paid. 
She took up a sheet of paper, seated herself at the desk and 
began, to translate the interview, page one. 

Lady Gophir, it appeared, lived in Mount Street, where Mrs. 
Wilfley had seen her, " seated in her dainty pink boudoir which 
was a perfect bower of flowers, from clusters of cream roses to 
great sprays of stephanotis, all from the magnificent conserva- 
tories in Herefordshire. Lady Gophir has them sent up specially 
every day. ' I could not live without flowers,' she told me with 
a smile as she deftly arranged a great Persian bowl of yellow 
asters." 

In short. Lady Gophir was experienced in interviews, and 
told Mrs. Wilfley, whom she suspected of vulgarity, just what 
that lady* desired. They then warmed to their subject, which 
was Lady Gophir 's projected Home of Reclamation to be built 
on some unprofitable land in a desolate part of Essex, where a 
distant view of the North Sea would compensate the inmates for 
the surging tide of Piccadilly. All the best people, so Mrs. 
Wilfley learned, were warmly interested in it. One might won- 
der why? Plain good food and clothing would be ^ven, or 
rather loaned, the refuges. Lady Gophir almost shuddered as 
she said she dreaded pauperising them. Surely their lives were 
sufficiently evil and unhappy without a stranger, even a friendly 
stranger, pauperising them. Here followed an almost illegible 
reference to panem et circenses, of which Minnie made a hopeless 
muddle. Anthony Gilfillan, whom she interrogated on the sub- 
ject during the week-end, told her it meant " Bred in Piccadilly 
Circus," but his chuckle told her he was making a joke at Mrs. 
Wilfley's expense, and she let it go at that. An hour passed in 
this way, and Minnie looked up to find the quaint little copper 
dock pointing to lunch-time and the breakfast dishes still un- 
washed* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 175 

" Can't do both/' she muttered, and fell again to work. 

At two o'clock Mrs. Wilfley was still out, but the interview was 
fairly coherent Rather proud of such sustained labour, Minnie 
put on her hat and was going out to get some lunch, when she 
heard some one scampering up the stairs. It was a telegraph 
boy, and he came right up past the ecclesiastical architect's door 
on the right. 

"Gooderich?" he said to Minnie as she stood withdrawing 
the key. 

" Yes," she said, and took it. 

" Reply paid," said the boy. 

She opened the door again and shut it, looking round the 
room in a scared way she had when a new experience assailed 
her. It was her first telegram. 



Meet We9iminster Office three — urgent, reply 

GUfaianJ 



The white reply form fluttered to the floor as she stood reading 
the message. She picked it up and spread it out on a comer 
of the breakfast-table. Taking a pencil she wrote her answer 
to 

'* Filament London 

Coming, Minnie/* 

and opened the door. 

*' How do you get to Westminster Bridge? " she asked the 
boy. 

" 'Bus or Underground," he replied, putting the telegram in 
his wallet. 

" How long does it take? " 

"Quart' of 'n 'our," he chirped, and clattered down again, 
whistling. 

It was ten minutes past two. Minnie followed the boy down, 
left the key at the porter's lodge, and went out into the roar of 
Fleet Street. She would have a little lunch first, she decided, 
as there was plenty of time, so she turned into an A.B.C. and sat 
down. 

Eating her scone and butter and drinking her tea, she sat 
taming over various solutions of the new position. She took 
the card he had given her the previous evening from her purse. 



176 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 



THE GILFILLAN FILAMENT 
Mr. ANTHONY GILFILLAN 



**PlLlMEirT 

London** 



tt Old Qiticen St. 

A^'lSTMlNSTEB, S. W. 



He had told her that it was close to the bridge, and now she 
was to go there and see him. Two or three times when the cup 
was near her lips she set it down again, as she grasped the sig- 
nificance of the fact that she was going there to see him. It 
would be an irrevocable step forward, tliis meeting in the mid- 
dle of the afternoon. 

She was glad she had gone to work on that interview. She 
wouldn't have liked the telegram to have found her in a lack- 
adaisical fit. And then as she sat in the glow of this beautiful 
thought, a sudden possibility swept over her like an icy wind. 
Suppose something had happened that it was all over, that his 
wife had been found to be still alive, had come home and claimed 
him, that he had lost all his money. . • . 

For a moment she sat still looking straight before her, wait- 
ing for her native common sense to rise up and push the cold 
fear gently back outside. If any of these things had happened, 
was it likely he would wire for her to go to the office to meet 
him^ Was it likely? Already she had enough of the free-wit 
current in the world to know that in such a case she would 
have gone to Charing Cross Post Office, at six, and simply — 
waited in vain. In old stories, when the devil took people they 
were wont to vanish, which demonstrates the sound psychology 
of the old story-teller. In modem life, especially modem com- 
mercial life, when people go to the devil, they also vanish, and 
we hear of them no more; we, that is, who have been in merely 
social contact with them. So slowly but surely, Minnie re- 
gained her previous condition of sanguine expectancy, and fin- 
ished her lunch with a piece of Russian pastry, the latter indi- 
cating the genesis of a reckless mood. After viewing the tele- 
gram from all points of her compass, she found herself unable 
to hit upon a satisfactory motive for sending it. 

She looked at the clock and rose to leave. It was twenty-five 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 177 

minutes to three^ and she wished to be on time. A paper-man 
told her to get on the Victoria 'bus and get off at the bottom of 
Whiteliall. She climbed on top, and the blustering autumn wind 
made her hold her hat. It made her face glow, too, as it rushed 
eastward, carrying stray pieces of paper high in air and mak- 
ing the little flag on the 'bus rattle and slap sharply just over 
her head. 

At the bottom of Whitehall, when the conductor called up the 
steps " Here y'are, miss ! " she began to hesitate, and half un- 
consciously resented it. She felt aggrieved that in so serious a 
crisis her mind should be clouded by an uncertainty of toute and 
the superficial shyness natural to strange surroundings. It put 
her at a disadvantage, and in his presence, in his own o£Bce in 
the plenitude of his power, she was alarmed lest she should 
become what she would have called "jumpy." Her aplomb in 
matters of ordinary daily life was not due to brutishness, mere 
dead insensibility to psychic influence, but to a nice balance of 
receptivities, the same balance which makes even little girls 
sometimes behave sweetly to strangers, whom they hate, makes 
them sometimes pause in a sentence about the governess and say, 
" Isn't that pretty ? " pointing to the flowers in a wet ditch. As 
l^iinnie walked down towards the park gates at the end of Great 
George Street, she felt keenly alive to the tactical advantage 
Anthony would have in this interview. 

"Oh, I wish I knew what it is he wants," she whispered to 
herself. But she went on, holding her head high, for the ad- 
venture still called to her. After all, was not this a greater 
thing than would have ever happened to her up at the factory? 
Wliom could she meet who would be able to intimidate her? 
And she went on round into Old Queen Street, gaining courage 
as she walked. 

Number 82 was a high narrow house on the western side. On 
either jamb of the white door were painted names — names of 
architects, of typists, and civil engineers. Above was a long 
copper plate bearing the words in red letters: 

GiLFiLLAN Filaments Limited 

On a white board in black letters in the entrance hall was the 
statement that the registered offices of the company were situ- 
ated on the top floor, and the reader was informed also that he 



178 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

or she would only be seen by appointment. Minnie read this 
gravely and went on upstairs. At the top she once more en- 
countered a door marked with the name of the company. The 
name was getting on her nerves. 

" It'a as bad as Little Liver Pills/' she muttered, and pressed 
the bell-push. 

A slide in a glass panel shot back and a young girl with a 
spotty, cunning face peered out. 

" Mr. Gilfillan in ? " said Minnie, musing. 

" What name, please? " 

" Gooderich." The slide slammed to again. 

In a short time, too short for Minnie to experience any change 
of mood, the door was opened by the young person. 

" Step this way, please." 

She led Minnie along a linoleumed passage through a door, 
then along a carpeted passage into an office where two men sat 
at big desks each absorbed in calculations, and thence to an- 
other door whereon was inscribed in fat red letters, *' PRI' 
VATE," and at the bottom in small italics, 

Mr, Anthony Gilfillan. 

The young person knocked, opened the door, and Minnie, with 
her habitual scared look round, entered. The door closed behind 
her. 

The room was small and exquisitely furnished. A red Tur- 
key carpet covered the floor, on either side of the fireplace was 
a great leather chair, and the walls were hung with etchings in 
wide mounts. A rose-wood desk stood open by the window, 
littered with papers and supporting a reading-lamp, a tele- 
phone and half a dozen speaking tubes. The window itself was 
noteworthy, for it was of stained glass, the design being Dioge- 
nes hunting for an honest man witih the aid of a Gilfillan Lamp. 
But the most noteworthy object in the room was Anthony Gil- 
fillan himself, as he stood with his elbows on the red marble 
mantel, looking down at the wood fire that glowed and crackled 
in the grate. 

Minnie stood by the door for a moment wondering. Was 
this really one of the secrets of his power, this faculty of mak- 
ing a surprising situation? If he only drank a cup of tea in a 
cafe he would do it in a way that made the girl, the manager. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 179 

and the cashier remember him. Wonderful discovery of mod- 
em life — publicity! For Anthony Gilfillan it had passed from 
being merely a pleasing fancy^ a business proposition^ an ad- 
mirable policy. It had become the measure of his existence. 
All things^ from the High History of the Holy Grail to the 
mysteries of the Upanishads^ were for him the Instruments of 
Publicity. All emotions^ trained by his iron will^ were units in 
an army fighting for Publicity. Just now^ an emotion had mu- 
tinied and he was deliberating. He turned and faced the girl 
standing by the door, so that she could see the haggardness of 
his face. 

" What is it? " she said, coming to him. " You sent for me. 
What for?" 

" To sec if you'd come/' he answered slowly. " To test my- 
self. Since last night I have been uncertain of myself. TUs 
cannot go on." 

"What can't go on?" 

" Sit down." He pointed to one of the great chairs and she 
seated herself. " What? I was speaking half to myself. This 
state of mind cannot go on. I cannot give my mind to my 
work? I have done nothing to-day. So i decided to settle it 
once for all. I could not leave the office for some hours." He 
waved his hand towards the telephone. " I wired to you to 
come to me. And you have come." 

" Yes? " she said, looking at the fire. 

" Will you come to m^? " he asked, looking down at her. " I 
need you. And what appeals more to you, I think, you need me. 
I can help you to what you want. Life. I can show you many 
things. For a time we shall be happy, I believe." 

" It's wrong," she whispered. 

" It is up to you," he replied, staring at the fire. " To marry 
would be madness, I can see that. You are of a different type, 
a type quite as necessary as any other, especially to men like 

me. But . • •" 

" No," she said. 

" But as a rule," he went on, " girls like you have no choice." 

" Well," she said, standing up in front of him, " have I got 
any choice if — if I say I'll come? " 

" I said it's up to you, my dear," he answered, puttmg his 
hands on her shoulders. " Isn't that a choice? Or do you 
think, are you afraid, I cannot make good my promises ? " 



180 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" No/' she said, finding her vein at last. *' I want to. I'm 

not afraid. I want to have a good time. But " she paosed> 

touching the edge of his coat with her fingers. Anthony Gil- 
fillan followed her eyes and divined the cause of her trepidation. 

" No," he said. " There are no buts. Why distress yourself 
like this? You are trying desperately to talk to me now as 
though we were equals, and this strange room frightens you." 
He shook her gently and her eyes returned to his. " Leave the 
thinking to me. Leave everything to me. Can you get into that 
mood?" 

" Just do what you tell me? " she queried. 

He nodded. " Just that," he said, and there was silence. He 
put his hand to her hair where it escaped from her hat, her 
plain little old sailor hat, and touched it lightly. Her small 
pale face was composed and her bosom heaved regularly. The 
unrest was dying out of the dark blue eyes as they fell and re- 
flected the flames on the hearth. 

So came the proposition to Minnie, in a guise she could 
scarcely have foreseen. She moved a little to one side, holding 
to his coat the while, that she might watch the red heart of 
the fire. She had been barely four minutes in the room, yet 
her attitude toward Anthony had undergone a change. Though 
he had insisted on her inferiority, yet — she felt nearer to him. 
The words " I need you," are as potent as ever, and Anthony 
Gilfillan had made a slip in psychology when he imagined that 
the converse " You need me," would weigh much. ** I need 
you " changed the atmosphere, changed their relative positions, 
changed everything. As she stood looking into the fire, she 
began to see still further the possibilities of the new situation. 
The material side opened out before her. Here was tliis shrewd 
business man, this tireless inventor, a man who had built up a 
syndicate, master of those silent men outside, telling her that 
he needed her. And as her mind slowly grasped this new view 
it was startled and stimulated by the shrill buzz of the tele- 
phone. In a moment Anthony Gilfillan had grasped the re- 
ceiver on his desk and began to talk. 

" Hello, Hello ! Yes, this is Filament. Yes, speaking to yoa 
now, Hello ! " A pause, and Minnie stood motionless and tense. 
"Hello! Yes? Somebody else cut in, I think. Yes, this is 
Mr. Gilfillan. Is that Mr. Quaritch? Good afternoon, Mr. 
Quaritcb* I say! Did you get my note? Yes? — Oh, really? 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 181 

. . . That's very interesting. Is he coming to town? ... I 
see. Oh yes^ I must see him before he goes out East again. 
Our Light of Asia Filament is tlie proposition for him you 
know. . . • Well, I'm engaged all this week. Shall we say 
Monday, at — let me see ? " He turned over a scribbling diary 
on his desk. " Monday at twelve. How would that do ? . . . 
Yes, certainly, I'll write him. I've been planning a trip East, 
you know, and it would simplify matters very much if we could 
get a representative in Pekin first. — What? — Oh, quite so, 
quite so. You did quite right. Anything extra, of course, I'U 
see goes through. What hotel is he staying at? Royal, Glas- 
gow? Right. I'll write him this evening. How's everything 
in your section? — Good. Yes, all right. Good-bye." 

He put the receiver back, pressed an electric button in the 
wall and sat down to write an entry in his diary. There was a 
knock at the door, and a trim young woman entered with pencil 
and note-book. Minnie regarded her with piercing interest. 
Here was another of Anthony's satellites, a mere cog in one 
of his many wheels. The girl stood at his elbow without utter- 
ing a word, merely whipping open her book and waiting. In 
an even voice he dictated a brief letter to Yuen Shi Loo, Esq., 
Royal Hotel, Glasgow, begging him to favour GilfiUan Fila- 
ments Limit^ with a call on Monday next at noon, when their 
Mr. Gilfillan would have much pleasure in going into the ques- 
tion of an Asiatic Agency already touched on by their Mr. 
Quaritch. They begged to enclose particulars of their Light 
of Asia patent, in which, no doubt, Mr. Yuen Shi Loo would be 
interested. 

'* Enclose Light of Asia No. 17 and the General Catalogue," 
he remarked in conclusion. 

The young woman made a few more hierogljrphics in her book 
and departed. Anthony turned to Minnie, whose eyes were 
bright with interest 

" WeU," he said, taking her hands. " What is the verdict? " 
She looked up at him. 

I wish I could help, here," she said. 

Here? No, I have something better for you to do. I do 
not share Mrs. Wilfley's opinion of you, you luiow. She is not 
competent to analyse a character like yours." 

*' You think Tm not capable, I suppose." 

" That does not explain it. You can help me better by being 






18£ CASUALS OF THE SEA 

mj friend. I have not many real friends, you know/' he went 
on, as though thinking aload. "A man cannot in business. 
Les Affaires sont le$ affaires. I never see any of these people 
here except in o£Bce hours. It would not do." 

The young woman, after a light tap, entered again with a 
basket of letters to be signed. Minnie watched her as she stood 
there with downcast eyes, and wondered what her thoughts were. 
She was a smart, graceful slip of a girl. A curb chain bracelet 
hung on her wrist and a ruby ring glinted on her finger. En- 
gaged, evidently, Minnie surmised. 

Anthony sat down and read each letter carefully, making a 
trifling emendation here and there, finally signing it with a 
scrawl. When they were all finished the girl took up the bas- 
ket and retreated without a word. 

" Send Mr. Fitchett in, please," said Anthony. 

He turned and looked at Minnie. 

" Time's up," he said, smiling. " I wish you would sit down.*' 
She did so, leaning forward and looking at him earnestly. 

"Time's up.^" she said curiously. 

** Yes, it's too late to draw back now." 

She leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes for a nM>- 
ment, letting herself drift quiescent in the stream of circum- 
stance. It was a novel and delightful feeling to her, this sur- 
render of will to a stronger power. In this mood she tasted to 
the full the flavour of adventure in her life. Curiously enough 
she recalled the strange, beautiful figures on the painted panels 
of that little caf£ of Paoli's, the girls seated on thrones amid 
fountains and peacocks, girls wandering with their lovers 
through enchanted forests. A tap at the door aroused her. A 
young man with thin hair, brushed straight up, entered with 
papers. 

"Oh, Mr. Fitchett — just draw up a chair will you. I'm 
going away for a few days. Shall be back on Monday morning 
at ten sharp. The chief matter is the Tunisian Contract If 
Monsieur Couvrier calls to-morrow, you wiU have to go through 
the whole matter with him. His pourparlers with the Mar- 
seilles firm should be fairly complete, and it rests with him to 
bring pressure to bear upon them to take the goods from our 
licencees there. He has a prejudice in favour of British-made 
goods, you know. Use tact, of course. Then with regard to 
tiie Asiatic Agency. I have just spoken to Mr. Qnaiitch in 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 18S 

Glasgow and arranged to see Mr. Yuen Shi Loo here on Mon- 
day. If a wire should come in the meantime^ relay it to this 
address." 

" Very good^ sir. Anything else? " 

"Yes. This proposition from the BuUard Company of San 
Francisco is worth taking up. They know the territory and 
can localise the publicity to much greater advantage than we. 
We shall need a guarantee, of course. Mr. Godalming can deal 
with that. He will be back from Manchester to-morrow mom- 
ing. 

" Very good, sir." 

The young man with the thin hair took up his papers, per- 
mitted his eyes to flutter in Minnie's direction for a moment, 
and then retired. Anthony GilfiUan leaned back in his chair 
staring abstractedly at the figure of Diogenes on the coloured 
window. He had arrived at a curious condition of mind, this 
financial visionary. Almost against his profoundest convictions 
he had succeeded, for like most dreamers he had an underlying 
touch of pessimism in his nature. Beyond his wildest hopes he 
had trained his mind to one end, publicity. And now, with 
regard to this girl whose frank unimaginative nature formed so 
happy a contrast to his own experienced enthusiasm, he found 
himself nonplussed. Publicity was not desired here, he was 
aware. Mrs. Wilfley, if she heard it, could be trusted to give 
it quite sufficient publicity among their acquaintances. Mrs. 
Wilfley in this respect was his superior, he knew. She could 
make her way into privacies and obtain advertising commissions 
where even his indomitable personality had failed to gain an 
entrance. In this particular he admired her immensely, but he 
saw in dazzling clearness the need of keeping her ignorant of 
this present adventure. He turned sudd^y to the girl and 
found her watching him intently. 

" What am I to do? " she asked. 

'* Go back," he said. " Go back and wait for Saturday. Can 
you do that? " He rose and leaned over the chair where she 
was sitting. For some moments they looked into each other's 
eyes without speaking, and then he stood up, and spread out 
bis hand with a gesture of helplessness. 

"Can I have forgotten?" be said dreamily. "Can I have 
forgotten? Or have I never learned? My dear." He took 
her bands and drew her up to him* " My dear, what can I say 



184 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

to yon, you little snow-flower? Why do you watch mc? Arc 
you afraid, after all ? " 

" Go back? " she repeated. " I don't understand/' 

"Will you ever? What do we know of romance, we two? 
And yet we will never know each other save by romance. 
That's why I say go back. Here," he stopped, unlocked a 
drawer in his desk and took out some bank-notes. " Take these, 
buy whatever you like, and be ready on Saturday." 

"What — what shall I buy?" she stanunered, holding the 
thin crackling papers. 

" Buy ? Romance, my child. Ribbons, flowers, scents, silks, 
chiffons, rings for your fingers and bells for your toes." 

She looked up at him with a smile breaking from her lips and 
eyes, a smile of comprehension. 

"Is that romance?" she asked. "Was I right after all, 
when I said it was money did everything? " 

She looked at him and laughed in his face. "Wasn't I 
right? What's the good of anything — without it?" 

He stared at her. Even he, clear-headed as he was, had 
never fastened to a prime truth as this girl had done. The 
rosy mists of illusion had clung about his eyes so that he still 
talked of the utter irrelevance of money to the soul of man. 
He was like( Mrs. Gaynor, like Mrs. Wilfley, an idealist, while 
this smiling slip of a girl in her cheap worn dress and the 
crackling bank-notes in her clenched hand, was instinctively a 
realist. She might give him the purple buskins of imperial ro- 
mance while she thought of him regardless of time and condi- 
tion, but instantly, when the dream condensed to fact, when 
they met face to face, she could only be reached by the cash 
nexus, by dinners and theatres, by things that cost money. Love 
in a Cottage. Noble Poverty and conjugal struggles with the 
wcrld, the splendid friendships which keep artists from self- 
destruction and inspire their finest works, — all these things were 
mere vague outlines to her, she curled her lip slightly at their 
approach. That she loved him was indisputable, but her love 
was not the supreme surrender which many would have it, the 
deathless clinging many think it to be. She was Danae in her 
tower of brass, and Jove himself could only enter in the form of 
a shower of gold. 

"What's the good of any tAtn^ — without it?'' 



« 
« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 185 

And as they stood there she recovered her position. He had 
been her master while she sat in the chair with her eyes closed 
listening to his sharp staccato speech through the telephone and 
to his subordinates, her master when he had caressed her and 
called her his "child." Now she was his mistress^ She saw 
more clearly than he the exact poise of their attraction, the ful- 
crum of their relationship, the metallic pivoit)n which they were 
balanced, and she smiled into his fac^^ith blithe triumph at 
his discomfiture. He roused himself in^ a moment. 

" You reaUy believe that? " 1 

She waved the notes before his eyes. ' 

" You see ! " she said. A thought crjr^ssed her mind, and she 
touched each of the notes with her forefinger, counting them. 
He watched her, amused at her sedate pleasure. 

*' You see ! " she said again, and rolling them up stuffed them 
in her purse. 

You haven't even said thank you," he said gravely. 
Haven't I ? " She bit her lower lip, and her slow flush 
mounted her cheek. A sharp peremptory ring at the telephone 
made them jump. Anthony looked at. his watch. 

*' You've had twenty minutes of my iime," he exclaimed, tak- 
ing the receiver. ** Saturday now, ^on't forget. Saturday 
noon." He turned to the instrument ai»d talked swiftly for some 
moments. .^ 

When he looked round she was gone. 

He threw himself into one of the big chairs and watched the 
fire imder his hand. 

" Of course, I might have known that I would have no other 
attraction for her. She is only a chrysalis just now. When she 
has money to spend she will be another creature, with wings 
probably. Well^ I shall have what I need, psychic change. 
What is it to me if she has wings. Wings are pretty. Money! 
The little vampire! And yet, no. She has a pride. She could 
not be bullied, I am sure. One ought to call her grasping, 
callous, mercenary, yet one doesn't. Why? Pride, I suppose. 
What a study her temperament is ! " 

There was a tap at the door, the young man with thin hair 
entered and they proceeded to discuss the draft of a new ad- 
vertisement. 

" I had a very pretty fancy just now/' said Mr. GilfiUan. 



^ 
^ 



* 



186 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

^' What do yoQ think of a girl with gossamer wings caught in a 
t«A(^le of golden filaments^ eh? Light caught in a net, yon 
seer % 

" E«^ *»llent> sir ! " said the young man. 

'* Pablu4|^ ! " remarked Anthony GUfiUan. 






/ 



} 



f 



i 

* 






VI 

MRS. GAYNOR was sitting in her front room in her 
rocking-chair, reading. Outside in Maple Avenne 
the leaves were being blown about and defying the 
efforts of an old man to sweep them into little heaps. 
Now and again she would look np and watch him through her 
curtainless windows, a bent rheumatic old mortal, feebly bat- 
tling with the gusts. When she looked at him she imagined she 
saw a Parable. He was Humanity toiling to accomplish some- 
thing which the winds blew away. Then she would go on read- 
ing her book. She was glad of the wind, for her Monday 
washing was done and the clothes on the line in the back gar- 
den were being blown taut by it, and by evening they would all 
be dry. Her neighbours said she was rather "near" to do 
her own washing, for they were sure she could afford to pay 
some one else to do it. But Mrs. Gaynor went on her way se- 
renely, doing her washing in less time than her neighbours took 
to steep it, and then sat down to read a book. Little Hiram 
was seated on his hassock doing a lesson. Sometimes he would 
rouse up with an "Oh, Ma, how's this?" and she would bend 
down to show him how. When he looked up and said quickly: 

" Ma, there's Minnie Gooderich ! " his mother looked up too, 
and saw Minnie coming up the path. 

"Mercy! So it is. And isn't she tittivated out? Get up 
and open the door, child." 

"Well now, if yon haven't struck oil, Minnie! Sit down, 
dear, and we'll have a cup of tea." 

Minnie sank into the rocking^hair and patted the boy's 
cheek, as he stood smiling beside her. 

"'UUo," he said genially. "Where bin?" 

"Oh, ever so many places, Hiram — where'd you think?" 

"Not 'Merica, eh?" 

" No, not America. Not nearly as far as that. Mrs. Gay- 
nor," Minnie turned to where Mrs. Gaynor was busy with her 

spirit-lamp, " where do you think I've b^? " 
'^ 187 



188 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

*' A department store^ I should think^ fdr one place^" said the 
quiet lady, looking at the girl's clothes. 

" I should think so^ but I've been to the seaside too.'* 

" I thought you'd gone to work at Mrs. Wilfley's." 

'' Yes^ so I have^ but I'm leaving there, I thinL" 

"Why, don't she suit.?^" 

"She doesn't a bit We've had a row.'* 

"And she's paid you off?" 

Minnie shrugged her shoulders. 

" No, she hasn't" 

"Well, I'm sure I can't imagine where you've picked up the 
style along with those things." 

Minnie smoothed down the skirt with a smile. 

"Do you like it?" 

"It's just perfection. And a bracelet, too!" 

" It's real. You see, Mrs. Gaynor, I'm going to have a good 
time. A friend of mine's given me some money." 

" She's a real friend now." 

" It isn't a she." 

" Hiram, go right out, and take your hoop with you. Yon 
can finish that cyphering by and by." 

Mrs. Gaynor went on with her spirit-lamp and tea-things and 
allowed Minnie to take her own time. 

" I'm not going to be married," she broke out at length, and 
still Mrs. Gaynor kept silence. 

" Mrs. Gaynor, say something," said the girl. " I s'pose yoo 
think I'm frightfully wicked? " 

" What do yon want me to think? What have you come back 
to me for? " 

" Because I wanted to talk to you about it Mother, she'd 
be wild about it, I s'pose." 

" Mothers are poor things, aren't they, child? How can I 
help you? Is he a rich man? " 

" Yes, he'll be very rich soon." 

" Then why don't he marry you ? " 

"We don't want to be married. He's got a little girL Hia 
wife died a long while ago. We want to be just friends. I 
told you, I told you, it's to see the world I want. I s'pose I 
am wicked, but I don't care, and — I thought you'd understand, 
from what you said." 

The girl paused after her outburst and sat with her face in 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 189 

her hands. Mrs. Gaynor came over and put her hand on her 
shoulder. 

"Minnie," she said in her even voice. "Are you real cer- 
tain you don't care?" 

"No — I donV 

" Then I can't do anything. I always thought you were a 
queer child and needed careful looking after, and I'm sure of it 
now. What's worrying you, if you don't care.^ Other women 
have done the same thing. Sometimes they've bitten off more 
than they could chew, and then they've gone down and down. 
Sometimes, they've won through and it's been for the best But 
it's a big job, child. You can't come to anybody for help, you 
know. This man, is he a real man, or only a whittling.^ " 

Minnie raised her face, put up her hands, and unpinned her 
gay hat. 

" He's a real man, as you call it, and he's got brains as well 
as money." 

" But I can't see why you don't go to him." 

The girl put the hat down on the table and lifted her face 
again to Mrs. Gaynor's earnest look. 

"I don't go to him," she said proudly. "He comes to me? 
He needs me. I can't explain it at all. He is very lonely for 
all his big business and his brains. He wants me to help him 
to live. No, that doesn't explain it. But when we went away 
on Saturday, and we were down at Clacton, I understood it plain 
enough. We were so happy. He can talk and I can talk too 
when I'm with him. We walked on the sands in the dark, and 
he told me so many things, and I told him things, too. It was 
never like that — before, you know. He was just like a boy 
telling about his troubles. But this morning, when he left me 
at Liverpool Street and went away to his office, I felt as if I 
couldn't go on to Mrs. Wilfley, and I was lonely and wanted to 
talk to some one who'd understand. So I came out here." 

Mrs. Gaynor looked into the teapot as though its dark pol- 
ished interior held the solution of her difficulty. In accordance 
with her habit, she held her peace for a moment after Minnie 
had ceased speaking. The lid of the copper kettle began to 
flutter, a thin and beautiful jet of the steam came from the 
spout and hung, cumulous, in the atmosphere. Mrs. Gaynor 
fixed her eyes upon this as she began to speak. 

"A long while back^ Minnie, when I was a girl^ I knew a 



190 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

school teacher like 70a. She was mighty clever, and when she 
went from Concord to the seminary at Boston she just swept 
the board with her essays and literature work. Her family 
were a rather united one as a rule, and couldn't make her out 
anyway. When she was through they naturally expected her to 
come back and get married same as other girls. She came into 
the store where I was selling underwear, and she gave me a 
shock same as you did just now when I saw you in those clothes. 
She came right on up to my comer, and when she saw me she 
smiled and sat down to have a talk. She was going to Europe, 
she said, and was laying in a stock. I said folks generally laid 
in stock on the other side, and she said that was so and went 
on talking about her friends. She asked me how the ' old folks ' 
were, and I told her she knew as well as I did I hadn't any, 
for they never came back from Sacramento after — '49. That 
was the gold year — I s'pose you've never heard of it. WeU, 
then I saw something was wrong with Terry — her name was 
Teresa — and just let her talk away. At last she said he was 
outside in the phaeton and she'd have to go, but I was to 
come and see her at the hotel. When the store shut, and it was 
some open in those days, I went along. A grand place, all 
maple and mahogany panelling, and thick carpets on the stair- 
ways and landings, and Terry was in a big suite right over the 
vestibule. And, do you know, Minnie Gooderich, that girl told 
me the very same story as you have. She was going to have 
a real good time and she didn't care one rap for what people 'Id 
think, only she wanted to tell me, just because she felt I was 
safe and had never been very censorious. When she'd fin- 
ished she asked me what I would do, and I asked her back if 
he was man or a stick. He worshipped the ground she trod on, 
she said, and I told her that was no good to the ground. I 
asked her how long it would last, and she turned and got back 
on me by crying she didn't care about how long or how short, 
she was just going to drift. So I said, ' Well, Terry, by that 
you mean, if it isn't one man, it's another.' And she said, 
* Well? ' and I picked up my umbrella and went straight home. 
I'm afraid I was a little censorious in those days, when I was 
younger. I had no patience with a girl who'd deliberately spoil 
her career that way. Well, she came a good deal to the store 
and bought little tilings as an excuse to talk to me, until the 
day they sailed for LiverpooL The last time she came in she 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 191 

gave me an address in Paris where they were goings and I was 
to be sure to come and see her some time. She'd got all her 
smiling courage back by that^ and all my black looks didn't sig- 
nify. And the strange thing was that when I tried to imagine 
that girl's family^ all crazy with the worry and disgrace, I 
couldn't. I was taking her point of view in spite of myself." 

The kettle needed attention, and Mrs. Gaynor rose to make 
the tea. Minnie watched her with strained attention, her palms 
pressed between her knees. 

" Mind, child, I'm telling you the truth and thinking the 
truth at the same time, and so I don't believe it will do you 
any harm to hear it. I didn't know as much as I do now, but 
I had the Light even then and held my peace. My way was 
plain enough, and I walked in it. I was always for the quiet 
side of life. When I was married and my husband came over 
here, he got word of Terry. He brought back a book he'd 
bought which she'd written herself, and do you know, Minnie, 
it was wonderful. It was just the story of a quiet New England 
girl and how she had become a nun. There was a piece written 
by a Frenchman in the front, and he told how the writer had 
come to Paris, no one knew how, and settled among them, and 
how she had attracted a lot of young men round her who lis- 
tened when she talked and got ideas from her. The Frenchman 
said he couldn't explain it in the usual way, but she did them 
all good. She hadn't much time, for she was teaching folks 
English all day and the young men used to come in in the even- 
ings. I guess they pretty near worshipped Terry, from what 
that Frenchman said. And when she took sick and died, they 
all went to her funeral, a whole string of them, with wreaths. 
And then they found this story in her room, and they got it 
printed and translated, and there it was." 

Mrs. Gaynor paused again to pour out the tea, and Minnie 
waited for her to go on. 

" Now I expect you're wondering what Terry's story's got to 
do with your case, eh? Well, it showed me that we can never 
be sure what a girl's vocation is in the world. If we were 
all cut off one stick it 'Id be an easy matter. But we aren't 
anything of the sort. Every single one of us is a new and 
wonderful creation, and it 'Id be a miracle if we fitted right into 
the place where we dropped, wouldn't it now ? " 

** YeSj I s'pose so. But I can't write books and all that." 



192 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

'* Who said ? No one ever knew she conld write anything 
worth while^ though to be sure no one would have been sur- 
prised. It was her influence that made those young men flock 
round." 

" You do take her part," said Minnie^ accepting a cup of tea 
from Mrs. Gaynor's hand. 

" N09 cliildy I don't^ any more'n I take yours. I'm just sit- 
ting here trying to see your view of it^ and it reminded me 
of Terry. From what I could find out, she had a hard strug- 
gle for two or three years, but then I can't see myself what that's 
to do with it. She might have had more trouble if she'd stayed 
in New York and married. People don't ever seem to realise 
that doing what's right's no guarantee against misfortune. Look 
at me, for instance. My way's always been along a quiet road, 
and yet, I've had a terrible struggle at times, especially when 
my husband had small-poz and died when Hiram was six months 
old. It's the people who're comfortable who have time to worry 
over little trivial things. All the talking in the world wouldn't 
change your plans, I'm quite sure. You wouldn't have come out 
here unless you'd made up your mind." 

Minnie gave a short laugh as she stirred her tea. 

" You seem to tliink I'm in for it anyway," she said. 

*' Deep sorrow means deep joy as well, child, for those who 
find the Light." 

" Light .J^ WTiat Light is it you mean? " 

"I don't think you'd understand yet, Minnie. Your mother 
asked me the other day just the same question. She said, ' Is 
it conversion you mean? ' I said, ' No, not quite conversion, 
because I've never been converted, and you can't judge by things 
you've never experienced.' It is thought-power, I should say, 
which helps you to understand yourself. And when you can do 
that, why" — here the quiet-voiced woman stood up, her grey- 
green eyes opened wide towards the light, and her serenity 
touched with the fire of a profound emotion — " why everything 
is as plain as plain can be. That's why we call it the Light. 
Now you are in the dark, you can't see what's going to happen. 
Some day, perhaps, you'll get the Light." 

Minnie went on drinking her tea and looking out of the win- 
dow. Mrs. Gaynor's explanation of her own mental evolution 
was not particularly clear to the girl, but that perhaps did not 
matter. Mrs. Gaynor's genius was subliminal; her influence was 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 19S 

catalytic. She semed to effect, by her presence, changes of soul- 
periods in which she herself had no part, remaining quiescent 
at the back of things. She was indeed the right person for 
Minnie to seek at this time, for she was the antithesis of An- 
thony Gilfillan, the dynamic giver-out of energy, the restless 
dreamer. She was static and receptive. Her mental pictures 
were etchings, quiet landscapes set against the dry unearthly 
Light of which she so often spoke. And as she sat a little back 
in the shadow near the fire-place and looked out at the driving 
leaves, she had one of those pictures clear-cut before her mind, 
a picture of herself and her husband seated on the verandah, 
he with his face raised from his paper as he listened to her justi- 
fication of Terry. It passed quickly enough, even as Mrs. Gay- 
nor set down her cup and loked at Minnie with a smile. 

" I don't know how it is, Mrs. Gaynor, I'm sure, but it does 
me good to talk to you. And besides, you know, in a way you're 
responsible for this, because if you hadn't sent me to Mrs. Wor- 
rall and so on to Mrs. Wilfley, I shouldn't have met Anthony." 

"We're all responsible that way, but it doesn't amount to a 
row of pins. Responsibility's like a string we can only see the 
middle of. Both ends arc out of sight" 

" Yes, that's true, but I can't help thinking of it, all the same. 
Have you seen mother lately ? " 

" Just passing." 

" I think I'U look in and see her? " 

Mrs. Gaynor looked at her in surprise. " Like that? " 

"Well, why not? It's all black." 

** It's a gay black, child, with those feathers. Oh well ! Go 
on, go right in then. I was only thinking how much English 
women value mourning." 

" Will you come in too? " 

" Surely. But wouldn't it be better to send Hiram and ask 
your mother to step in and have a cup of tea, here ? " 

" Yes, if you like." 

Mrs. Gaynor went out to beckon to the hoop-trundling Hiram, 
who had flashed at intervals across their field of vision. 

Minnie suddenly became aware of a nervous aversion to meet- 
ing her mother. That rather round-shouldered and insignifi- 
cant figure presented to her a novel and disturbing front. Her 
mother of course was an honest woman. She was, moreover, 
her mother, and would scan her daughter's face with a merciless 



194 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

searing gaze. It appears^ therefore^ that a daughter who does 
not care^ for whom the stony path of conventionid virtue has no 
allurements^ whose contempt for her mother is above the average^ 
can nevertheless flinch from the ordeal of encounter. Why was 
this? Not vulgar fear: Minnie's reserve of pugnacity was enor- 
mous. Not economic dependence: she could feel against her 
flesh the gratifying abrasion of three of the remaining bank- 
notes. Not contrition: when a woman is well dressed contrition 
is with her a mockery and a sham. Not even physical unfitness^ 
for Mrs. Gaynor's tea was mild and Minnie never felt better in 
her life. T^at then? I think it must have been that the con- 
trast between herself and her mother would be so sharp that she 
doubted her ability to " carry it off." And then if she were to 
. . . but as to the upshot of offering her mother money she had 
not the imagination to divine. 

Mrs. Gaynor returned. She knew the value of a hiatus in a 
heart-to-heart talk^ how often it slackens a taut thread or bridges 
a perilous gap. Minnie felt the relief of her absence for a mo- 
menty and turning round set the feathery hat over on the head 
of the sofa somewhat in shadow. She remembered this act 
afterward; she remembered also that almost the first glance of 
her mother's eyes went straight at the nodding plumes. At first 
nothing was said while they waited for Mrs. G(K>derich. Minnie 
wished Mrs. Gaynor would speak, but to tell the truths Mrs. 
Gaynor, who was observant and had seen the postman deliver 
a letter at No. Eleven that morning, was slightly apprehensive 
of " a scene." She knew it would be better and more decor- 
ously played in her house than in theirs. 

"You didn't write to your mother, I suppose?" said she at 
length. 

Minnie shook her head. "Why? 

" I saw the postman go in this morning after he'd passed me, 
said the lady quietly finishing her tea and turning to the spirit- 
lamp. 

" Oh ! " said Minnie, quite unmoved. 

And then Mrs. Gooderich in her weeds appeared and came 

up the path. 

Something made Minnie, when the door opened, stand up. 

" How is it you're here? " said Mrs. Gooderich, sitting down 
on the sofa. " I thought you'd got a place with Mrs. Wilfley." 

" That's right, so I have." 



99 

9* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 195 

''Have yoQ? Then why does she write to me to tell me 
joa'ye gone away with some man^ eh? '' And she drew an en* 
yelope from her pocket and held it out. 

'* Is that what she says? " 

" Yes, it is, and I can see it's true? " 

" Well, don't shout, mother." 

" Shout ! Wouldn't it make anybody shout? To bring a child 
up respectable, to bear with her every whim, and take her sauce, 
and then have a letter like that from a stranger? And your 
father not cold in his grave. You know you ought to be at 
home with me; and I'm quite sure if you'd only been civil to 
people at the factory, you could have stayed on. Ethel Tanner's 
gone back." 

" Mother, if you want to know why and how Ethel Tanner's 
gone back, I can tell you, but I don't think you'd like to hear it. 
Leave her out of it." 

Mrs. Gooderich looked at her daughter's composed, colourless 
face for a moment without speaking. Minnie, in spite of her 
apprehensions, was " carrying it off." Her new black dress, 
with its high-necked collar and its skirt clinging to the hips and 
trailing a little behind, gave Minnie, as she stood there looking 
down on her mother, a tall and commanding appearance. With 
a characteristic lack of dramatic instinct, Mrs. Gooderich had 
placed herself in the most ineffective position she could have 
chosen. Letters, indignation, maternal authority — all were dis- 
counted by this, that Minnie was better dressed and she towered 
over her mother as she stood by the table. Mrs. Gooderich took 
out a black-bordered handkerchief. She lacked the dignity 
which weeds demand, somehow, and Minnie saw this. She 
waited for her mother to speak. Silently Mrs. Gaynor offered 
the widow a cup of tea. The fit of anger which had been fed 
ever since Mrs. Wilfley's letter had arrived was spent. Tea 
and tears were to follow. She refused bread and butter weep- 
ingly. 

Minnie was ill at ease again for a moment. She herself never 
wept and thought it silly. 

*' Don't, mother ! " she said at last. 

But Mrs. Gooderich wept on silently, impassively^ the tears 
rolling down her small tired face and into the teacup. She had 
been sorely tried mentally and spiritually of late. Her ap- 
pearance in deep black at the chapel the day before had re- 



190 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

suited in a certain change of heart. Little Hannibal, also in 
black and in thick-soled boots which kicked occasionally at the 
pew in fronts had wondered when the minister had patted his 
cheek and smiled benignantly. He had wondered still more 
when his mother had sent him to the Snnday-school after din- 
ner while she herself had gone to the cemetery. Mrs. Goode- 
rich was vaguely seeking consolation. The loneliness of widow- 
hood has often this effect She had always been desirous of 
joining the chapel — chnrch was too grand — but somehow there 
had never been time. But now there was plenty of time; at 
least she hoped so, tremulously. She had tried to pray, for 
Bert in the barracks at Casterbridge who wrote of his chance of 
" going out," for Minnie away in London, for Hannibal kicking 
his legs about by her side, for herself, whose future seemed dark 
and desolate; and she had gained strength, she tliought. And 
then that letter from Mrs. Wilfley, the kind lady who had so 
grenerously arranged the grand concert, had upset her. She had 
wasted energy by giving way to anger, talking to an imag^inary 
Minnie, neglecting her work and puzzling Hannibal with unex- 
pected blows, so that when Hiram told her Minnie was at his 
mother's, she had been taken by surprise. And as she sat there 
weeping into her tea, she felt with a pang her utter impotence 
in the face of her child's frowardness. It was a strange para- 
dox, this erring daughter standing unconsciously contemptuous, 
" over her mother." If the latter remembered the stockbroker's 
wife of long ago, she showed no sign of that lady's tact. Our 
conduct is indeed of a piece with ourselves, and Mrs. Gooderich 
could not have behaved as her mistress had behaved. Driven to 
silence, she wept. It may seem paradox again, but even if a 
recital of her own misfortune could have brought Minnie back 
to her, she would have died rather than utter it. That was 
past. She had done the right thing, and her fault was buried 
forever. And so it did not even occur to her to speak of it. 

Mrs. Gaynor, somewhat perplexed, had gone on administering 
to material needs and turning tlie situation over in her mind. 

"Why don't you sit down, child .^" she said to Minnie; but 
Minnie only shook her head and looked over her mother at her 
hat. She felt instinctively the advantage her position gave her. 

" I'm goin'," she said briefly. 

" Minnie ! " her mother started up and seized the girl's arm, 
but Minnie drew away, bending over the table. 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 197 

" It's no use^ mother. You don't understand and you won't 
understand^ so it's only wasting breath." She reached over^ 
took the feathered hat and set it on her head. 
Never look to me ! " burst out her mother. 
That's one thing you can depend on^ mother. I shan't do 
that." 

Mrs. Gooderich stepped back as though she had received a 
blow. 

" Minnie," said Mrs. Gaynor in a clear authoritative voice, 
*' promise me one thing." 

" What? " said Minnie without turning from the glass, her 
hands still fixing the hat. 

** Promise me you'll always write to me and tell me where you 
are and how you are getting on." 

" Yes," she said, " I'U do that." 

" Then, Mrs. Gooderich, I'll do the same to you. And now, 
Minnie, kiss your mother." 

" Good-bye, mother." 

It was a tragic moment. 

" Now don't forget," said Mrs. Gaynor. 
I won't," said the girl, and went out. 



u 



PART II 

I 




HENy Madame^ what do you propose to do? *' 
" Stay here a little longer." 

" But I have mentioned already to Madame that 
there is a fortnight's accoimt due.' 
He may return this morning.' 
But if he does not i " 
" I will let you know.' 
" Madame will not misunderstand me if 

No, no. That will do now." 
Somewhat nonplussed, the landlord of the " Three Pigeons " 
returned to his wife. He had been glad of Madame's custom a 
month ago. She and Monsieur had taken rooms at a time of the 
year when but few visitors came. Truly, Monsieur appeared to 
be a commercial, yet he was free with money, and going away 
a fortnight since had ordered everything to be continued for 
Madame as before. Now they were somewhat doubtful of the 
issue. Monsieur was to return in a week. At the end of a 
fortnight, which was this morning, the landlord of the " Three 
Pigeons " made known his anxiety to Madame, who continued 
to look out over the balcony at the bustling life and noise on the 
Quai. He had no desire to be harsh: quite possibly Madame 
was in a quandary herself. A day or two ... no harm could 
surely come of a day or two's delay. His wife leaned her fat 
elbows on the desk where she sat and hoped so. Tiding over 
October to April was the problem of their lives, for commercials 
did not as a rule come to the " Three Pigeons " ; they preferred 
the hostelries near the station. If Monsieur returned all would 
be gay, if not all would be desolation. So closely are small busi- 
nesses run that one bad debt will precipitate disaster. Both 
landlord and the fat lady on the desk looked grave. 

Upstairs, leaning over her balcony, Madame watched, with 

apparent content, the scene below. The Seine, bearing on her 

108 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 199 

• 

broad placid bosom all maimer of crafty waspish destrojerSi huge 
8nab*nosed lighters^ swift petrol-launches^ slim white yachts 
and rusty ocean-going tramps, was spread out before her. Im- 
mediately below the sim shone down on the red and white striped 
awnings of the caf6s that line the Quai. Carts rumbled over 
the setts, tramcars clanged and wliined over the metals as they 
moved off up to Bonsecours, over the bridges, down the Rue 
Jeanne d'Arc, out to Dametal ; and now and again a fussy Benz 
motor-car would thutter and hoot its way among the throng of 
people who waited for the trams. Up and down in front of the 
caf6s the merchants of the City promenaded, discussing their af- 
fairs with gestures that seemed droll from above. The whole 
scene was animated by the spirit of spring, and Madame, in spite 
of the landlord's gloomy forebodings and disquieting interview, 
smiled to herself. At length she turned away into the little room 
and took from the mantelshelf a letter. That it had been al- 
ready perused was obvious, for she displayed no haste. Smiling 
thoughtfully, she unfolded the thin foreign sheets and laid them 
on her knee. 

9 Maple Road, N. 
Feb., 1906. 

My dear Minnie, 

I received your letter from Antwerp and was very glad 
io hear you were well, Hiram and I have had colds for tome 
time. He's been home here a week now, and I'm glad to say he 
is getting on fine in his profession. He certainly likes the sea, 
and I have great hopes of him. As soon as I got your letter I 
wrote straight away to your mother. She says she doesn't like 
East London at all, nothing but rain and slush all the time. As 
she's said this for four or five years now (how times does fly I) I 
suppose it has become a habit with her. She says Hannibal is 
giving a lot of trouble. He seems to have lost his job at a ware- 
house and is running about and getting into mischief, I'm afraid 
your mother is not a very good manager. She wasn't here, I 
know. She is just scraping along at the work your Uncle George 
got her, and not venturing to get anything better, I must say 
I respect your mother for sending back that money you sent. 
Did you get it back safely? She won't go against her views 
whatever any one says. 

Now, Minnie, what are you doing with yourself? Are you 
really happy, now you've seen the world and gone gadding round 



200 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

for $0 long? I often think of you and wonder. You May you 
guess you've got all the pleasure any one gets out of life, but I 
don't think you quite grasp what I mean. And that reminds me 
that I saw Mrs, fVilfley the other day when I went over and 
had tea with Mrs, Worrall, She was very interested in your 
career, she said, because you impressed her tremendously with 
your wUl'power when you were with her. And although she 
believes you were quite wrong, which was the reason she wrote 
to your mother that time, she still thinks you have a future. She 
has just published another book on the subject of Women's 
Rights and Moral Duties and hopes you will read it, 

Hiram sends his love. He goes back to his ship, the 
" Cygnet," in a few days, and I've just thought I would take the 
opportunity to look in and see your mother. Certainly London 
is a terrible place to get about in. I always find myself in the 
wrong train in that awful Circle Railroad, And you know I 
still live in hopes of seeing you and your mother reconciled. I 
suppose you will shake your head, but I do believe if you came 
lack and asked your mother to forget the past, she would. 

Your sincere friend, 

Ann Butterick Gay nor. 

Minnie let the letter slip from her fingers and sat meditating 
upon the vicissitudes of her life. She was, as a matter of fact, 
once more at a turning point. Since that evening five years 
ago when she had returned to CliflTord's Inn and found Mrs. 
Wilfley with some friends at tea, she had maintained a steady 
indifference to the obligations of friendship. Her brief notes 
to Mrs. Gaynor had been but the fulfilment of her promise, and 
contained little save a record of her changing address. Mrs. 
Wilfley, indeed, had been hard put to it at first to explain her 
interference, though the subtle suggestion, seized when she 
gathered that Minnie had not seen the letter, that there was 
nothing to conceal since Minnie was now an emancipated woman, 
checked the girl's withering invective. The word " emanci- 
pated " held Minnie's fancy, drew her attention back from petty 
details and she saw herself in perspective once more. And she 
found, moreover, that the only drawback to her full enjoyment 
of the evening lay in her own ignorance of literature and art. 
Her contempt for Mrs. Wilfley was shorn of its edge when she 
heard that lady discussing a recent and famous noveL Cer- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 201 

tainly the criticism was of no value and might have annoyed 
the author^ but it sufficed to emphasise Minnie's feeling that she 
was "out of it" She left the flat^ promising to return^ and 
sought Anthony at bis hotel. The experiment had satisfied her 
she would not be able to remain in Clifford's Inn. To his ques- 
tion she had replied that she looked to him. He was busy at 
that moment composing an arresting piece of publicity called 
" The Shrine of Indolence^" but he put it to one side at once 
and took her out to dinner. She remembered that dinner. They 
did not go to Paoli's that time but to one of the great caravan- 
saries of the West^ where the panels of the walls were of pale 
pink satin, where the waiters wore claret and gold uniforms and 
the lights on the tables had rose-coloured shades. A great 
orchestra in the distance made a pleasing tumult that drowned 
the noise of cutlery and dishes, and Anthony had ordered a 
bottle of port wine. In many ways Minnie measured her present 
life from that port wine. It marked the end of the prelude 
of her emancipation. Thereafter she stepped deliberately into 
the milieu of the first act. 

And now it should be succinctly stated in her defence, that 
her life had been in niany ways restrained and modest. That 
she had been the mistress of more than one man stands clear 
against her. She should have been faithful, I admit, just as 
men should be perfect. She failed, I suspect, for the same 
reason that men fail, for the same reason that a sow's ears are 
unsuitable raw material for silk purses. But of riotous living 
and dishonest dealing there had been none. Her failure to 
realise her first vague intentions as a sort of modern Aspasia 
did not drive her to the quagmire of pilfering and blackmail. 
In this I hold her honourable, and she herself had no qualms 
at all, now, concerning her way of life. This fact I have already 
remarked, that even crime, if co-ordinated and run on business 
lines, loses its essentially criminal aspect; and you may hear 
intelligent folk concede a half-envious admiration for the skill 
and courage of a bank-thief or company-promoter — this fact, 
I say, has a vital bearing upon the outlook of a woman such as 
Minnie Gooderich is now as she sits looking out over the Seine 
from her pavilion on the Quai. You may, if you please, sit 
at home in your family and deplore the profligacy of her life. 
You may, like Mrs. Wilfley, grow in goods and f^me by writing 
books to prove that she cannot escape destruction and death. 



202 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

You may, like Lady Gophir, interest yourself in refuges for 
her in her dreary and squalid decline. You may do all this and 
fail to grasp the essential points of her defence, that feelings 
control men and women, not thoughts, that effort is non-moral, 
that finally you yourself, in your comfortable home, are as re- 
sponsible as she. Mr. Gilfillan's fine Flowers of Publicity are 
no more inevitable products of our age than Minnie's callous 
independence of soul. We have cackled of the romance of busi- 
ness until business is our only romance. We have slain Poesie, 
and her pale phantom stalks amid our stark realities unrecognised 
and undesired. We have seen Art on the street selling herself 
for money, but we have lost the right and the impulse to rebel. 

Quite unconscious of this trend of existence she sat there 
looking out at the busy life of the old City of Rouen. She had 
altered, as we say, since the days at the factory, altered some- 
what for the better. Her face was a little thinner, her mouth 
had more decision than ever, but her dark blue eyes were less 
belligerent in their steady gaze. Her simplicity in dress was 
noticeable too, she having cultivated a certain severity of line 
which suited her spare figure and graceful deliberateness of 
movement. ^ Her w.eaknesses were perfumes and tUgligSs. To 
spray her clothing with aggressive essences, to sit, without cor- 
sets, watching the up-curling spirals of cigarette-smoke, sufficed 
to her for recreation, literature, and the fine arts. / She became 
in a way a work of art, odorous and phantasmal. On some men 
this aspect of her was the limit of fascination. And she could 
smile too, exposing faultlessly even teeth, conveying in her glance 
a profound knowledge of human life. 

Of her wanderings there is small need to speak at length. 
She had made Western Europe her seminary, her Didascalion, 
learning rapidly and intuitively the things of which she had 
need. As Mrs. Gaynor had said, " If it was not one man it 
was another." Let it be said, at least, that she appealed gen- 
erally to men of superior quality, and appealed, moreover, to 
them as men and not as beasts. She was no Circe, turning men 
into swine, but rather attracted them by her subtle air of de- 
tachment and held them by an implication of mystery. ^That 
men are more generous to their casual loves than to their wives 
and families cannot be laid to her door. /She benefited by it 
as your business profits by idiosyncrasies of the market, and 
she thought no more about it. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 208 

Bnt just now^ as she sat by the window^ she was somewhat 
weary of the play^ and was meditating the possibilities of a 
return to a less nomadic existence. Her anxiety as to the return 
of Monsieur had been genuine though veiled before the landlord 
of the " Three Pigeons." The latter's dulness had prevented 
him from connecting the departure of Monsieur with that of a 
certain steamer a fortnight before. Minnie was aware^ however, 
that that same steamer was due from Antwerp even now. But 
she was wondering, nevertheless, whether it would be better to 
make an effort on her own part and return to England for a 
time. She would prefer that the captain of that steamer should 
pay her bill at the " Three Pigeons/' and on that account alone 
did she prevaricate. A repetition of that unique experience, a 
voyage cooped up in a berth in a rolling tramp-steamer, did not 
appeal to her. She reflected with disgust upon the nausea and 
fatigue, and the unpleasantness of the clandestine exit, to prevent 
gossip, at midnight 

She rose at last, and picking up the letter opened her trunk 
and took therefrom a writing case. It contained a thick packet 
of letters from Mrs. Gaynor, for they had each kept the promise 
made that afternoon long ago, and these letters were Minnie's 
only link with her early life. Strained through Mrs. Gaynor's 
fine sieve, her mother's attitude towards her seemed devoid of 
bitterness, and lacked any positive note save that she was as 
determined as ever to take no money from her daughter. Min- 
nie laid the last letter on the packet and tied it afresh with a 
piece of ribbon. She would answer it by and by, when she had 
decided what to do. 

When she had dressed herself for walking she went out and 
descended the stone stairs of the hotel. Times were certainly 
slack with the " Three Pigeons." The caf6 was deserted save 
for the landlord, who sat on the red-plush lounge reading the 
Petit Journal, and Madame at her desk, engaged in her inter- 
minable accounts. They looked up quickly as Minnie appeared 
and passed out, nodding nonchalantly. They exchanged glances 
and shrugs, and relapsed to their former abstraction in news 
and figures. Minnie did not speak French fluently. She had 
never remained long enough anywhere to feel the need of a 
foreign language, and was accustomed to leave such bargainings 
as were necessary to her protectors. At the same time she 
could ask intelligibly for her meals, and even convey to the land- 



204 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

lord that his fears for Monsieur were unfounded. She turned 
now up the Rue de la Grosse Horloge^ and halting under the 
very shadow of the grey arch^ entered a restaurant where she 
was accustomed to lunch. She liked it because it reminded her 
of the little places in Solio where she and Anthony Gilfillan had 
occasionally dined^ little places more popular and more con- 
gested even than Paoli's^ where you all sat at one big board like 
a family, and called the waiter by banging the pepper-box on 
the table. So much did Minnie concede to sentiment; she 
thought of Anthony without regret. But then she thought of 
everything without regret; even of their parting, effected sud- 
denly and quietly when he went to Mexico to arrange the forma- 
tion of a new subsidiary company. It had been looming for 
some time, he growing more and more absorbed in his great 
schemes, she gaining more and more interest in trivial things. 
She had met his daughter too, a grey-eyed convent-bred made- 
moiselle, perfect in language and savoir-faire, and had been 
stricken suddenly with a deep conviction that the girl would later 
on effect her dismissal in summary fashion. She was indeed 
no longer necessary to the dreaming capitalist and inventor. 
His advance in fame and riches had brought him in touch with 
famous men and brilliant women, women who knew more than 
he, who had travelled and studied, who knew courts and kings, 
who helped right and left to acquire ascendency over their hus- 
bands and brothers, who led him into great country houses and 
Mediterranean villas, whither Minnie, for all her restrained re- 
finement, could not go. So they had parted, amicably enough, 
he to his suite on a West-bound liner, she to her new attraction, 
a square-jawed, brown- faced naval officer on leave, who found 
in her small flat in Fulham a novel and delightful haven after 
his China Station. 

It was noon and the room was full, for others beside Minnie 
appreciated the home-like cosiness of the place. The waiter 
stood lashing the crumbs from the table with his napkin and 
listened to Minnie's quiet, hesitating voice as she enumerated 
her requirements. Removing her long gloves and laying them 
beside her as she bent over the carte, she became aware of the 
scrutiny of her neighbour, a middle-aged woman clad in fault- 
less black. Minnie looked up at her and met a pair of wide- 
open brown eyes in a face of powdered pallor, eyes shaded by 
a large black hat that was set far forward in the style of the 



CASUALS OF THE SEA £05 

moment. The woman's smooth white hands had rings on the 
shorty slightly-pointed fingers^ and heavy drops dragged at the 
lobes of her small ears. 

" Ingleesh? " said the lady with a smile as she dissected her 
cutlets^ and Minnie regarded her with fresh attention. 

" Yes/' she replied. " Do you speak it, much? " 

The lady nodded, munching. 

" I live «ere, in Inglan'." 

"Do you? WTiere?" 

" London ! " 

"Do you?" 

"Ver' good place, London. I have a bizness zere. You 
have a bizness?" 

•• No. I'm here for a holiday." 

"Ah!" 

The soup came and Minnie took her spoon and began to eat 
it. Her neighbour cut a piece from the yard-long roll on the 
table and put it down beside Minnie's plate. 

" What is your business ? " asked the latter. 

" Modiste an' chapeaux. A ver' small place but ver' good. 
I like Inglan'." 

" Yes," said Minnie. " It's a good place. I was thinking of 
going back." 

" An' ze Inglishmen, I like zem. You like Inglishmen, eh? " 
The brown eyes glittered. 

" Sometimes. Do you know many ? " 

"Ah yes! I ^ have many frien's Inglish, wiz plenty money. 
Inglish sweet'eart, 'e spen' plenty money." 

" Yes," admitted Minnie, tipping her plate away from her. 
"That's true. You have an English sweetheart?" 

" Certainly ! " drawled the lady, eyeing Minnie as though 
doubtful of her comprehension. " An' you? " 

" Perhaps. But not now. When do you go back to Eng- 
land?" 

" To-morrow, by ze night-train. An' you? " 

"I — I don't know quite. I am waiting for some one." 

"Ah! An' if he no come?" 



" Then I will come back to England with you if you like." 
" Can you do the dressmaking? " 



«« VT^*. .^^^u tin a »» 



Not much. Why? 
" I wish for assistance in my bizness in London.' 



£06 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Their eyes met for a moment in a challenge^ and then Minnie 
finished her soup. 

The meal went on and they became acquainted, in the manner 
of their class, with each other's condition. Marie Antoinette 
Letellier heard with approval of Minnie's reasons for awaiting 
the return of the steamer, but she, with her somewhat wider 
experience of the ways of seafarers, was not certain of Mon- 
sieur's return. 

*' Ze Capitains, ztj come zey go," said she, and Minnie seemed 
to imply, by her grimace and her slightly raised shoulders, that 
persons who pursued such a precarious calling might be quite 
capable of a little uncertainty in their movements. Her com- 
panion suggested coffee at the Caf6 Victor, near the Municipal 
Theatre, and she assented. They paid, rose, bowed to Madame 
and went out into the busy little street which had been so busy 
and so beautiful for so many centuries. Neither of these women 
noticed anything about this narrow thoroughfare, save that it 
was narrow and the shop-windows small. They walked down 
towards ^e river, Madame Letellier leading in the press and 
talking over her shoulder. 

" You, you have no f rien's 'ere in Rouen ? " 

Minnie shook her head. 

" Ah, I have many. I will show you." 

"At the Caf6 Victor?" 

"Ah, perhaps. But if not — but I will show." 

Arrived at the Quai, Minnie scanned the shipping quickly, 
and then called her companion's attention to a funnel with a 
yellow band. 

"So?" said the lady. "He is arrive, ze sheep. You will 
see him then, you zink ? " 

" I'll wait and see," said Minnie gravely, and her companion 
led the way along towards the Caf6 Victor. But at the theatre 
she paused, turned up to the left towards the great garage in 
the Rue de Charettes and entered an apparently empty cafe. 
A ghostly attendant rose from a chair in the rear and they 
exchanged remarks unintelligible to Minnie, and then Madame 
Letellier ascended the stairs to the first floor. Here again the 
room was large and vacant, save for a little group of women 
lunching by a comer window which admitted a limited view 
of the Quai. A chorus of exclamations greeted them as they 
appeared; Madame explained her companion with a wave of 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 207 

the hand^ and sitting down entered into the conversation with 
sest. Here Minnie became isolated^ for the ceaseless inter* 
jangling argot of the women was beyond her. She gathered 
that one of them^ a thin-faced good-natured girl, was describing 
an indescribable midnight ride in the tonneau of a motor-car, 
describing it with a wealth of gesture and detail that sent her 
hearers into paroxysms of laughter. How the friend of her 
friend who was supposed to be driving, tried to turn round and 
look into the tonneau, how they missed a wagon by inches and 
finally demolished a fence. Quelle vie! They all screamed, 
and bent over their knees in ecstasy. 

Minnie, sitting where she could see the water-front if she 
cared to look out, and drinking her black coffee, watched them 
curiously. She had, as a matter of fact, rarely come into touch 
with the middle classes of her profession, the hardy demi" 
mondaines who occupy a place between the Minnies and the ten- 
ants of the tiny cubicles above their heads and in the Rue Victor 
Hugo. She did not wish to come into touch with them exactly, 
for women like her become accustomed to regard other women 
as either rivals or servants. So she sat, well content to be a 
mere witness of their mirth, drinking her coffee and looking out 
towards the sparkling river. 

The women themselves eyed her with quick appraising glances 
as they laughed and talked, and assisted by Madame Letellier's 
succinct hints, placed her accurately enough. So placed she 
received their respect as one of the ilite. It was their finest 
ideal to be the mistress of a rich man, an ideal too rarely attained 
in these days of competition and high rents. There was a cer- 
tain reproach to their boisterous fun in her unobtrusive presence ; 
but none knew better than they that her repose was the result 
of her position. Wait till she had to enter their ranks, and she 
would soon find the need of companionship and high jinks to 
keep her spirits up. 

For Marie Antoinette Letellier their respect was less evi- 
dent than their admiration and envy. She was a smart busi- 
ness-woman as well as fastidious in her caprices, lucky woman 
that she was! The lucky woman had no pride, however, and 
talked in torrents of persons and places they knew and under- 
stood. 

Keeping her eyes on the people passing along the Quai, Min- 
nie saw a little man in a blue suit and black bowler hat, and 



208 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

carrying a brown leather case, pass and disappear. She leaned 
over and touched her friend. 

" Voilal " she said. *' He is come." 

" Bon/' said her friend. " Yon are going? " 

" Yes, I shall be at the ' Three Pigeons/ " replied Minnie^ 
and nodding to the others^ went out. 




II 

^ ^ ^^ DON'T mind admitting you can make it very awkward 
for me^ very awkward/' said Captain Briscoe^ as he ran 
his fingernail along the ship's name on his brown leather 
case. 

They were sitting in the Museum^ facing the " Death of 
Madame Bovary/' and the good captain was obviously ill at 
ease. He was a small neatly-made man, with weathered features 
and reflective eyes which were contemplating the tragedy on 
the canvas. Whether he appreciated to any extent the sublime 
pathos of that scene did not transpire. Seafaring captains are 
not as a rule susceptible to the appeals of Art. He was looking 
at it, however, and he continued to look at it because he knew 
that Minnie was looking at him and he felt the delicacy of the 
situation. 

" I don't suppose, Mabel," he went on — (Mabel was the name 
he knew her by) — " I don't suppose, Mabel, that you quite 
realise what this means to me. You think I'm too easily scared. 
But then you don't know Shields." 

Minnie, alioi Mabel, admitted that she had scarcely heard 
of such a place before he had mentioned it, that she was hazy 
even now as to its whereabouts. 

" It doesn't matter, you haven't lost much. It so happens 
that the new mate I've with me this time not only lives in the 
same town, but in the same street. So it follows that I simply 
can't afford to give him the slightest chance. ... If my people 
were to think ^at I was going about . . •" 

"Thank you," said Minnie. "You needn't apologise. I 
only go where I'm wanted. You might have left me in Ant- 
werp, though, since you are so particular. I was much more 
at home in Antwerp than I am here." 

" Now don't say you regret it ! " said Captain Briscoe, turn- 
ing to her in consternation and putting his hand on her arm. 
" Don't say that, Mabel ! I shall never forget it myself, as long 
as I live. That fortnight here and that we^ in Antwerp I shall 
not forget I thought you were different from the rest. I 

thought you wanted to come." 

209 



210 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Oh^ that's all rights but what use is it my wanting if you're 
so afraid of your mate you daren't see me in the street." 

" Well, I am. If his wife wasn't a cousin of my sister-in-law 
it might not matter so much." 

" I suppose the fact of the matter is you're married all the 
time and afraid she'll know/' said Minnie, with good-tempered 
irony. 

" Not on your life ! Do you think, if I was married, that 
I'd . . ." 

" Thanks again," replied Minnie amiably, and Captain Briscoe 
returned to his explanations. 

"Oh well," remarked Minnie, who knew the utter folly of 
losing her temper with men, " I shall have to manage as well 
as I can, that's all. I will say this. You've come and told 
me, and that's more than some sailors would do, so I've heard." 

" Ah," he assented, " and some shore-people too." 

They were silent for a moment, contemplating the '' Death 
of Madame Bovary." 

" I'll tell you what I'll do," said the Captain at length. " I'll 
pay the hotel bill at the * Three Pigeons ' and cover the fare 
back to Antwerp. I feel this way about it. I'd hate to think 
you had any bad feeling for me, thinking I'd bilked you out of 
a single cent. I want some time perhaps, when I get to Antwerp 
again, and all's clear — you understand ? " 

She patted his cheek lightly. *' All right, George," she said, 
smiling. " I'm sure I don't know the fare to Antwerp. Do 
you.>" 

" Fifty francs'll cover it, I'm certain," he said, opening his 
leather satchel. 

Mind, I don't ask you for this," she observed. 
No, I offer it. I can afford to pay my own way, my dear^ 
and pay for my fancies too." 

He looked at his watch and stood up. 

" I must get back to the ship," he said. " Well ! " 

She sat looking up at him, almost winsomely. He stooped, 
and with his hand on her shoulders, kissed her cheek. *' Write 
to me," he said. 

She promised. 

For a long time she sat in front of the picture by Albert 
Fourn6, which is entitled " The Death of Madame Bovary." 






Ill 

WIEN Minnie re-entered the hotel of the " Three 
Pigeons " it was six o'clock^ and no one had yet 
ordered any dinner. Madame sat as usual, her 
great account-books before her, eternally casting 
np. Her husband, having read all the advertisements of the 
Petit Journal, was perusing a back number of Le Bire, but with 
a woe-begone face. 

When Minnie passed through alone, they looked up and ex- 
changed shrugs. Evidently tiiere was a misfortune in store 
for them. Taking the ponderous key from the board, she 
ascended to her room. There was a smile on her lips as she took 
off her walking things, and then removing her blouse, began 
to wash. One of her passions was cleanliness of body, another 
was the purity of her linen. The latter had become a cult. 
Perfume and feathers, laces and even jewellery she would have 
abandoned in indigence before linen. A woman might catch a 
man's attention with her finery, but it was, in her opinion, the 
immaculateness of the intimacies which would hold him if he 
were worth the holding. But of this she was not thinking as 
she laved her bare arms and neck, the small flat oval of trans- 
parent soap gleaming like a topaz in her fingers. She was 
thinking of the good captain's ethics and wondering if he were 
a type. For Minnie with leisure had developed an interest in 
types> and was often amused with the serious moral theories held 
by her lovers. These theories never held them back from any- 
thing they desired, she noticed. Captain Briscoe was a case in 
point. The trim little man, with his knowledge of the world 
as he conceived it, a world of agents who wanted to rob his 
owners, crews who wanted more than they signed for, respectable 
friends and relatives who demanded a flawless reputation of 
him in return for their favour, — this trim little man, I say, in 
spite of all this, had a touch of real romance in his soul. But 
to his misfortune he had met Minnie as a courtesan and he 

could not rearrange his ideas to suit the change in his feelings. 

211 



it 



21£ CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Had she been only rated as respectable when he first encountered 
her^ she would have been his choice^ she would have been offered 
his name and the privilege of kissing numberless female relatives 
whenever she met them, besides the command of a semi-detached 
residence in Shields. But she had not been so rated, and the 
tangle of emotional and ethical impulses seemed inextricable. 
It had led him to a comical contradiction in his language, had 
led him to caress and insult her in almost the same moment. 

She smiled in the glass as she remembered the parting. What 
extraordinary creatures were men. There was that young chap, 
a Consul's son of all people, who had expressed his unplumb- 
able contempt for " any bounder who would bilk a woman," and 
had vanished from the scene like a morning mist, leaving her 
in the lurch. . . . 

There was a knock at the door. 
Come in," said the lady, taking up a small soft white towel. 
Pardon, Madame/' said a voice as the door opened and 
closed quickly. 

" Oh, come in. Monsieur, come in ! Is it anything very 
important? " 

'* Only this, Madame." And the landlord, still holding the 
knob of the door with his left hand, as if in protection from 
the lady's charms, sidled into the room and extended a card 
held between two fingers. Minnie paused in her vigorous use 
of the towel to crane her head to read the inscription. 

" Tell her to come up, please." 

"Certainly, Madame? And — er — is it impertinent to ask 
what Madame 's plans are?" 

" Yes — I mean No. Give me the bill to-morrow morning. 
I am leaving by the night boat at Dieppe." 

" Excellent, Madame. I will make it out up to to-morrow 
night. You will require dinner? " 

" Send Madame Letellier up here," cut in Minnie. 

Madame Letellier appeared, cool and composed, with her per- 
fect-fitting corsets and attention to details. 

" I did not think you'd be so soon," said Minnie as she shot 
the door. 

'' Pestef What a climb! What for you live so 'igh? *• 

" Fresh air. I saw him." 

"Ah! An' it is all right?" 

"All right" Minnie took up a powder puff. Marie Le- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 21S 

tellier watched her critically for a moment^ and then espying 
the open trunks began to rummage. She herself was already 
dressed for the eyening. Her black jacket was open, showing 
a sheer Toile blouse with a blone net collar carried ahnost up 
to her ears. Minnie heard the soft creak of her corsage as she 
stooped and lifted some garments. Clapping her hands together 
to rid them of powder^ Minnie came over and took out the 
blouse she intended to wear. Unlike Madame's it was buttoned 
in fronts for Minnie had never been able to afford a maid^ and 
details like that are important. 

" Ver* nice ! " commented her friend, eyeing the smooth 
handkerchief-linen material of snowy whiteness. " How 
much?" 

''Bon marchS. Twenty francs," was the reply, as Minnie's 
small fingers slipped the big pearl buttons into place and settled 
the waist. 

''Too much. I make that for ten shillings." 

" Oh well ! I could make it, but look at the fag." 

••Eh?" 

" Too much trouble ! '^ And Minnie proceeded to fix the soft 
loose collar and blue sailor's knot. She fastened it with a broach 
made of three sovereigns soldered to a back-plate, a notable 
example of ornament and utility combined. 

" There," she said. " Now I'm ready. Do you know I'm 
supposed to be going back to Antwerp." 

" Yes ! " Marie Letellier drawled the word, as she stared up 
at Minnie from the trunk* It was evident from that drawl that 
she understood Minnie's statement in its entirety. " He like 
you ver' much?" 

Minnie's mind reverted to her musings on Captain Briscoe's 
dilemma, and she smiled as she said that such was the case. 
The Frenchwoman regarded her with fresh attention — and re- 
spect Minnie, then, could do that, hold a man in invisible fet- 
ters of steel and — let him go ! There are no students of applied 
psychology like the women of the half-world. It is the chief 
subject in the Didascalion I have mentioned, and Marie Letellier 
was proficient in it. As her bright brown eyts scanned the other 
woman standing there, slim, sweet, and cool, a film of envy crept 
across her eyes, for she herself was thirty years old and she 
could not forget it. 

Minnie broke into her musings with a bundle of used things 



214 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

which she flung into the trunk and brought down the lid with 
a bang. 

Where are we going? " she asked, picking up her hat. 

Folies Berg^res," said Marie^ pulling her blouse down and 
going over to the dressing-table. " Zere is an Inglish company 
zere. Ver' good ! " 



it 



IV 

THE Channel was as smooth as glass as the two women, 
heavily clad> leaned on the lee rail and talked earnestly 
together. They were travelling second-class, and the 
stuffiness of the cahin had driven them out on deck. 
At intervals they could see a light flashing on the English shore, 
and Minnie, while she listened to her friend's story, kept her 
eyes on the grey line now coming into view,' waiting for tlie flash. 
She was trying to understand why Marie Letellier, the cool, 
experienced woman who had so thoroughly enjoyed her evening 
at the Folies Berg^es, was conflding the story of her early life 
to one she had met so recently. It was a sad story, Minnie ad- 
mitted, containing elements of drama which her own lacked, 
and it was told with an intensity she herself could not compass. 
Marie had been at school near Paris and had been allowed 
leave to visit friends in the City, where she had met and loved 
an Englishman. He had persuaded her to marry him, and she 
had gone back to school with their secret locked in her breast. 
And then each week-end she had gone to Paris, ostensibly to 
visit her friends as before, but really to her husband's flat. 
With a certain Gallic verve Marie conveyed to Minnie the fear- 
ful joy of that period, and Minnie's hands tightened on the 
gunwale as she figured it. And what had happened? Well — 
the voice of Marie dropped to a whisper — one night she had 
wakened for some reason, and needing a drink tried in vain to 
rouse her husband. She shook him, in vain, for he was dead. 
Ah, mon Dieu! And then the temporary paralysis of brain, 
the sudden decision, the flight back to school, the subsequent 
illness and removal home. Her life, Marie insisted, had been 
blasted, though Minnie, with her lack of imagination, could not 
see it. 

To her the Frenchwoman's tragedy was of her own making, 
the product of sentiment and a love of theatricality. If not, 
why had she become what she was? Why had she not remained 
by the dead man's side and faced the thing out? Minnie could 

not understand. She stood there watching the great light under 

215 



216 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Beachy Head flash out nearer and nearer, stood there in the 
pride of health and clear intellect and perfect nerve-poise, un- 
able to feel the throb of remorse in her companion's voice. And 
the Frenchwoman felt this and was awed. To each of her loves, 
however evanescent, however mercenary, she gave something of 
herself. With each passion virtue went out of her. But with 
this English girl it was different, apparently. To her it was 
the man who gave, more even than he knew. For all the dif- 
ference it had made to her soul, she was as virginal as when 
she worked at the factory in North London. " I need you," 
Anthony Gilfillan had said to her, and so said they aU. For 
her, she had no need of them, they could go or stay, which per- 
haps explained why they often stayed. Marie, gaining intui- 
tively some inkling of this fundamental fact, shivered. 

" You zink I was a fool t " she said. 

" No, no," said Minnie, taking her arm and walking to and 
fro. '* Most people think I am a fool. I can't — I can't feel 
that way." 

The syren let out a long, wailing cry which ended in a shriek. 
Minnie looked up and saw the dark figures striding to and fro 
on the bridge. She thought of Captain Briscoe, and remembered 
how he came down one night, his face wet with spray, and how 
she had seen the hard bright glitter of conmiand in his eyes 
soften when he saw her curled up on the locker. Men! They 
needed her. 

" I think we're going in now," she said. 



IT was late in April of the same year when Minnie, seated 
hy their window on the 'first floor in Lower Sloane Street, 
put down the morning paper and watched tiie postman 
crossing the road. For over two months she had heen 
with Marie Letellier, and as yet that woman of perfect figure 
and imperfect saintliness had failed to fathom her. And indeed 
Minnie did not quite understand herself. Accepting the French- 
woman's offer of tuition, she had endeavoured to make her work 
a success. Tliis was hardly in the tacit contract which lay be- 
tween them. The two assistants, heavily coiffured girls from 
Walham Green and Streatham, were nonplussed by the incon- 
gruity of her calm air of superiority and the bungling incompe- 
tence of her work. Minnie ignored them and smilingly caressed 
her friend, who deplored such a turn for prudery,, and visited 
her favourite resorts alone or with less intimate friends. And 
yet she made no suggestion that lifinnie should withdraw from 
the atmosphere of the genteel half-world. For she had con- 
ceived an affection for the cold English girl who took her oc- 
casional outbursts of emotional excitement without rancour, and 
had such a fund of quiet counsel and ironic wisdom. 

Yet Minnie would have been at a loss to explain in measured 
phrases why she retreated from the further pursuit of the exist- 
ence she had followed for four or five years. She would not 
have admitted that Captain Briscoe's letter, forwarded her from 
the " Three Pigeons " had influenced her so far. For he had 
written, thinking her still there, regretting his behaviour and 
asking if he might see her again. She had sat for a long while 
thinking over that letter, and wondering whether she had the 
courage to answer it or just let him drop out as he proposed 
to do. And she bad answered it frankly, telling him how she 
had changed her plans and come to London, that she supposed 
they would be hardly likely to meet again, but expressing no 
displeasure at the possibility. And then had followed the blank 

silence usual when one corresponds with those who follow the 

217 



218 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

sea. All her worldly knowledge^ aU her common sense^ told her 
that he had vanished. She did not disguise from herself the 
fact that she liked him^ and liked him the better for his letter. 
Andy in spite of her worldly wisdom and her common sense^ she 
remained absorbed in needle and thread, and wondering at in- 
tervals if she were a fool. 

And noWy on a morning late in April, she sat at the window 
watching the postman cross the road. She did not have many 
letters now. She had not told Mrs. Gaynor of her coming to 
London. With this new leaven working in her mind, she had 
grown a distrust of Mrs. Gaynor. When she wanted to see her 
mother she would go to her direct, she decided. She had no 
reason to suppose that she would have any letters to-day. Yet, 
when Marie, in her bronze-green kimono and with a cigarette 
between her lips, came back across the room with a letter in her 
hand, Minnie saw the foreign stamp without surprise. She 
opened it and read it calmly, while her friend, sinking into the 
chair behind her, waited for news. Minnie raised her eyes and 
met the Frenchwoman's gaze squarely. 

" Yes, Marie, it is from him. What do you think of that? ** 

"He is comin' 'ere?" enquired Marie, and Minnie shrugged 
her shoulders. 

" That depends. He is coming to London." 

"To you?" 

" He says, to marry me. What do you think of that? " 

" Mon Dieu ! " Minnie laughed. 

" Not bad that ! You don't know him. He says he has an- 
other ship, a bigger one, ' a command ' he calls it, with more 
money and — and he says he loves me." 

" But marry ! For why ? " 

" I should like to get married," remarked Minnie, in a low 
voice. "Very much." 

You ! For why ? " The voice was shrill. 
Children, kids, brats, whatever you like to call them. Don't 
look at me like that, Marie; it's a fact I do. Don't you ever 
want . • . want . • . oh ! " And Minnie opened her arms, 
half-rose from her chair and sank back . into quietness again. 
Marie Letellier regarded her attentively, blowing thin spirals 
into the air. 

" 'E say 'e love you, eh? An' you? " 

"Yes," replied Minnie in her usual voice, folding up the 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 819 

letter. ** He is a man. I don't know as I'm crazy about him^ 
but I have been feeling lately that I ought to make a change. 
And that's what it all amounts to: I want a change." 

And as she spoke she remembered her mother^ resolving to 
go and see her. 

" An' you will leave 'ere? " 

** I suppose so." 

" Leave me 'ere all lone? " 

*' Good Marie ! " Minnie rose and put her hands on her 
friend's shoulders. ''When are you ever alone? Answer me 
that!" 

And hard upon her reply to his agent in Billiter Lane, came 
an impetuous telegram to be at a certain place at a certain hour. 
She went out, a little late, and found him fuming. He took 
possession of her, carried her in cabs to restaurant and theatre, 
ordering wines and the delicate fruits of the earth, denouncing 
the tyranny of female relatives in sailorly language, and damning 
the world in general. Evidently he had been drinking, but 
not deeply, and she saw with a certain satisfaction that he 
scanned his change correctly. She took this surprising conduct 
good-humouredly, appreciating to some degree tlie natural ela- 
tion of a man raised from two to three thousand tons net register. 
His new ship was a daisy, and she could have ten or twelve 
pounds a month to keep house on. Now, would that be enough? 
Because if not, damn him if he wouldn't draw on his account. 
He wasn't going to have the dearest little, etc., etc. She cut into 
his baby-tidk with a hint as to the lateness of the hour and he 
was all attention at once. There must be nothing indiscreet 
now. He ordered the cabman to drive toward Sloane Street, 
and as they passed through the solemn gloom of Eaton Square 
he circled her finger with a ring, and abandoned coherence for 
good and aU. In Sloane Square she insisted gently that she 
must leave him and alighted, ordering the hansom to return to 
the " Three Nuns," where he was staying. She Inughed to her- 
self as she answered his farewell wave, and wondered why he 
should choose a hotel witli such an incongruous title. It reminded 
her of the " Three Pigeons " in Rouen. That was absurd too. 
Everything was finely absurd to-night She felt the elation of 
those who win though unaided. Her independence of soul had 
remained immaculate. Once more she reflected with pride that 



220 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

a man needed her, and she had been successful in concealing her 
own longings. After all, the fripperies of love, the flowers, the 
lights, the implied sentiment of the ring were pleasant. With 
a start she recalled that early affair with the coal-agent's clerk. 
Had she dealt unkindly by him? Involuntarily she shook her 
head. In the perspective of the years her cruelties, her uncon- 
ventionalities, were but a part of life. He was probably happy 
now with a girl whom he could understand. Her mother? 
Well, there she admitted freely to herself as she undressed, that 
there was something to be done. She had tlie sense to know, 
and feel shame in the knowing, that her mother came out of this 
business more bravely than she. She decided that she would 
go and see her mother. The thought carried her on to a matter 
of which she profoundly disapproved, and that was her mother's 
dependence on Uncle George. She wondered if after these 
years of separation she would be able to live with her mother. 
Or better still, when she was married, why could not her mother 
come and live with her? She was thinking of this as she fell 
asleep, and it was not until next morning that she remembered 
there was Hannibal. Little Hanny would be big Hanny now, 
and she had no intention of taking him in as well. That was 
a difficulty, and she decided to go down and see them. 

For Marie Letellier she had but the flimsiest of compassions. 
That emotional being regarded marriage much as a libertine 
regards children, with a mushy sentiment, unstable and only 
half-sincere. She had a habit of sighing when matrimony was 
mentioned with an " Ah, not for me ! " expression on her face. 
It was extraordinary how much comfort this capable woman 
extracted from her early tragedy without ever permitting it to 
hamper her practical everyday business of extracting money 
from the world and his wife. It was this trait which extorted 
Minnie's admiration. There was no earthly reason why Marie 
Letellier should not be as respectable a widow as any other 
dressmaker in southwest London; only her temperament forbade 
it. Sensuality had for her the same fascination that sensuous- 
ness had for Mrs. Wilfley. It is not too much to say that, had 
they met, they could have fallen in love with each other. In- 
deed, I have often wondered whether they did not eventually 
collide, and I have figured the dishevelled Marie pouring her 
terrible story into the ears of a lady with a note-book on her 
knee, a lady who could not hold back her tears but leaned her 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 221 

head on Marie's shoulder and "sobbed like a little ehild/' as 
she herself told a reporter. And then I see on the bookstalls 
among the best sellers a slim pale volume on whose cover is a 
pierced and bleeding heart, and I read the title The Licenseei 
of Love. A card sticks from the page^ informing me of a new 
and enlarged edition just out^ and as I hurry along the corridors 
of subterranean London, I see posters — for Mrs. Wilfley will 
be a person of importance then — posters showing her in her 
best soul's awakening pose, raising a transfigured Marie Letellier 
from a stem and rockbound sea. Notliing would please either 
of them better than such publicity. It is quite possible that 
Marie was the original of Mrs. Wilfley's Magdalens of May fair, 
published under Uie auspices of Lady Gophir in aid of her 
Refuge. Popular taste had come round to Mrs. Wilfley's way 
of tliinking, and as becomes an astute business woman she was 
there with the goods. People wished to know how these poor 
creatures to whom men paid the wages of sin (sometimes as low 
as ten pounds a week) lived. Mrs. Wilfley knew and sold her 
knowledge, sobs included, photos extra. We may even imagine 
her drawing from the willing Marie the story of how she met 
an English girl abroad (sensation in the Sunday papers!) and 
induced her to come to London. Mrs. Wilfley would make a 
good thing out of that. 

The English girl, however, did not permit these considerations 
to alter her purpose, and when Marie weakened to tears (this 
was on Sunday morning, when most women of her class weep) 
Minnie shook her. 

" Do for goodness' sake be sensible," she remarked. " Any 
one would think you had something to cry for. Marie, how 
much money have you in the bank ? " 

** Tree — tree 'undred an* forty poun'," said Marie, lowering 
her handkerchief. 

"And the business? And your health? And plenty of 
friends? And me only going round to Ted worth Square?" 

" You will not see me when you marry ! " the huddled figure 
in the bed announced gloomily. " I know ze Inglish madame. 
You will spoil yourself." 

" Fat lot you know, old girl. Get up and dress. You're 
growing lazy." 

Minnie met her gallant captain an hour later at Victoria Sta- 
tion, where she instructed him in the ways of Sunday trippers 



222 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

to Brighton. He was, for all his million miles of ocean travfl, 
nearly as unsophisticated as a young man from the country. 
The luxury of Pullman travel was new to him; the plated fittings^ 
the telephone by which he ordered a whisky and soda for him- 
self and a glass of port for her, the adjustable seat backs, all 
excited his pleasure. He was one of those men, so common at 
sea, who have really no idea at all of enjoying themselves except 
in a disreputable manner. This manner with the years becomes 
distasteful to them, they sink into themselves, grow morose and 
taciturn, and the result is that bleak phenomenon, a merchant 
skipper. Captain Briscoe had gone to sea when he was eleven 
years old, and being now forty, had spent about sixty per cent 
of his total existence upon the ocean. As the train fled away 
through the smiling country that Sunday morning, he realised 
how little of life's ease he had had. He was inordinately proud 
of the woman at his side. Ah ! he knew an A 1 copper-bottomed 
craft when he saw one! Now he would have a home of his own 
and a dear darling little wifie, etc., etc. The reflections of a 
sea-faring man are very much like those of a bank clerk or any 
other man in the same position. Suffice it that Captain Briscoe 
had the unusual experience of feeling himself a thoroughly re- 
spectable engaged man and yet a bit of a dog for all that. He 
had read of trips to Brighton, and here he was, travelling 
Pullman and all the rest of it. After all he could afi^ord it. He 
had grown so accustomed to investing his money that he had 
almost forgotten that he could aff*ord it. 

And coming back in the evening had been the capping of a 
perfect day. It might be surmised that he, having spent so 
many weary years at sea, would have no supreme emotion at 
the sight of it from Brighton Pier. But Captain Briscoe's sea 
was very difi*erent from the boat-flecked panorama which con- 
fronted them at every turn, the gay esplanade, the music and 
minstrelsy of the populous beaches, the toy breakers that rolled 
lazily in the sunshine. At times he looked out at it grimly as 
he remembered some particularly strenuous gnle off Hatteras 
or the joys of getting away from Valparaiso with the Norther 
hard behind him. The memory gave the present a greater zest. 

She told him in the train* as they returned to Victoria, of her 
intention to visit her mother and her proposal to take her to 
live in the flat in Tedworth Square. 

"A very good idea!" he agreed, pleased at the opportune 



« 
«< 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 22S 

appearance of a relatiye. It seemed to cut Minnie off from 
her past life, for Iier to produce a relative. " But we aren't 
goin' to live down there for long^ eh? I thought of a place in 
the country^ with a few fowls and a pig. I always wanted to 
be a farmer." 

Sublime illusion! 

" Later on,'* she soothed him. " When youVe retired." 

" It's unlucky to talk about that," he reminded her. " No 
seagoing man ever speaks about swallowing the anchor." 
Why do you call it that? " she asked. 

Well, it's a pretty hard thing to do," he replied briefly, 
and his blue eyes grew grave as he recalled cases to his mind of 
men who had tried to do it, tried to fling from their souls the 
terrible thrall of the sea. 

**And the country's rather awful in the winter," she was 
saying as the great yellow face of the clock-tower came into 
view. 

" That's right," he agreed. " London's not so bad after all. 
It's a friendly place." And he really felt as though he were 
coming home. 

" It's home to me," she assented. ** And there's another 
thing, George. I've an idea I might make some money here." 

He looked at her in alarm. What did she mean? 

" It's like this," she explained. " When I was here, a long 
time ago, I knew a woman who wrote tilings." 

"Wrote things?" he repeated vaguely. 

" I can't explain very well," she said. " I'm not sure it would 
come to anything. But when I get settled I'm going to have 
a try. I've been thinking." 

He gazed at her in adbmiration. What a clever little woman 
she was! 

"There's no need for you to earn money," he declared 
proudly. " I can do that. You leave it alone, whatever it is. I 
want my wife to be a lady ! " 

"It's not unladylike," she replied, "and we might as well 
have as much money as we can get. I shall have a lot of time 
on my hands." 

" You can do sewing," he suggested jocularly, and her lip 
curled. 

" Not in my line," she returned coldly, " and there's no money 

In it" 



224 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

She did not pursue the matter further at the time, for the idea 
that had taken possession of her mind was indeed too sliadovry 
yet to put into words. But it was true that she had been think- 
ings and as the future proved, tliinking to some purpose. Often, 
during the past few years, lier thoughts had gone back to Mrs. 
Wilfley and tliat lady's connection with publicity. Had she 
missed a chance in not staying with Mrs. Wilfley? Too late 
to bother about that now. But it had become a habit with her 
to scan the papers and magazines that came her way, noting 
the advertising matter and wondering if Mrs. Wilfley had written 
it. Everywiiere she would see whole pages devoted yto the Gil- 
fillan P*i1ament, pages of glowing rhetoric framed in allegorical 
designs by eminent artists. And then, in a reckless mood, she 
had wondered whether she could not do "that sort of thing." 
She had ideas, she was sure. If she could only get a start. . . . 
That would take too much time, she had reflected, and put the 
subject out of her mind. But now that she was going to be 
independent, the idea had come back. She had experience of 
life now. If another woman could do it, she could do it. But 
since the man at her side did not like the notion, since in his 
opinion it was unwomanly, she would say no more. She must 
be a lady, do nothing. Very well. She would wait until he 
was away at sea again, and then she would have a look round. 



BOOK THREE 
THE SEA 



** To all %Dho$$ $ouU ar$ wary, 

To all who$0 iouh ar$ tad 
WUh piteous dayi or dreary, 

To all who$$ hearit are glad 
The great $€a*9 toul hoe spoken, 

The great sea brings release. 
And even hearts half-hroken 

Wim something of its peace." 



MRS. GOODERICH sat near the carefully curtained 
window of her house^ or rather her one-third of 
a house in Jubilee Street^ £. The third consisted 
of the use of the front passage^ the ground floor 
fronts, and a curious middle chamber, lighted by transoms, which 
served as a scullery and coal-shed. The ground floor back was 
ruled by an Irish woman from Cavan, who also washed for a 
very respectable Bohemian family who disseminated themselves 
over the rest of the house. The Bohemian family had evidently 
seen better days, probably before Bohemia got its bad name; 
they were astonishingly quick to see the respectability of Mrs. 
Gooderich, who had curtains, and the impossibility of the Irish 
woman from Cavan, who had none. Th^y at once invested in 
curtains, and there they were at the upper windows, the colour 
being that sombre grey which is the London equivalent for white, 
and providing for the Bohemian females an effective screen 
behind which they could look down at life in Jubilee Street or 
peer curiously across at the occasional excitement of a scuffle, 
a fight, or an arrest in Assembly Passage. They tell me that 
all this is changed now, that Jubilee Street is so congested with 
respectable people that Irishwomen from Cavan and anarchists 
from Oran are crying out, ** No room to live ! " ; that Assembly 
Passage is a Valley of Peace, and policemen no longer find it 
expedient to patrol it in couples. It sounds Utopian and unreal ; 
if it is true, who shall despair of the Ultimate Reclamation of 
the World? 

It was a bright and eager spring day and about half-past four 
in the afternoon that Mrs. Gooderich sat near her curtains oc- 
cupied with a book. For she had of late years discovered, some- 
what to her surprise, that reading "took her mind off her 
worries." Certainly she did not discover this while she had 
such worries as her husband's death, her daughter's defection 
from the Right, her elder boy's brief but glorious career in 
South Africa, and the loss of her position as a home-keeping 

227 



228 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

i¥Oinan. They had left her small time for reading; but now, 
in the lull of the past four or five years, with no greater worry 
than a somewhat unstable Hannibal, she had been led by Mrs. 
Gaynor, be it said, to follow the fortunes of heroes and heroines 
as described by certain masters and mistresses of Romance. 
As she sits there, bending her head over her book, following 
the words pointed out by her finger through spectacles that add 
twenty years to her age, and whispering inaudlbly to herself, 
she is greatly changed from the dark-haired, blue-eyed little 
creature who stood before the late Mr. Royce in his nice little 
house in Caroline Road so long — well, twenty-four years ago. 
And there is a change from the slightly hysterical widow who 
stood facing her recalcitrant daughter that windy autumn day 
in Mrs. Gaynor's front room. When a woman drops in social 
position from two servants to one, or from one to a weekly char- 
woman, her spirit is unbroken; she can brazen it out and defy 
the neighbours to prove it isn't because she is independent and 
prefers to do her own work. But when she ceases to be her 
own servant and enters the service of another, when a thriving 
brother-in-law, instead of leaving her to die in her indigence, 
perpetuates that indigence by " putting her in the way " of a 
debasing employment, then there comes a change in the outward 
seeming. She can no longer brazen it out even to herself; a 
terrible apathy becomes visible upon her. As she confronts you, 
you see in her shoulders humility, in her hands unwilling respect ; 
but in her eyes there slumbers an impotent anger, and her 
mouth has the tremulous droop of despair. 

Mrs. Gooderich read on in her romance, and as we see her, 
she looks not unhappy. But ever and anon she looks through 
the window and up Assembly Passage as though expecting a 
familiar figure. There is no one visible in the Passage save 
some four or five youths who are loitering near a blacksmith's 
shop. As Mrs. Gooderich looks up she sees one of the boys 
dart from the shop pursued by a tall and powerful old man in a 
smith's apron. He clutches the youth by the shoulder, but quick 
as lightning the lad twists his arms from the sleeves and follows 
his companions in a wild stampede into Jubilee Street The 
tall old smith is left standing with the coat in his hand. 

Mrs. Gooderich put down her book and stood behind the 
curtains, an expression of pain on her shrunken features as she 
looked out upon this scene. After a moment's hesitation, she 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 229 

went out and opened the front door. The youths were leaning 
against the wall opposite laughing among themselves; the coat- 
less one regarded with glances of admiration. 

" Hanny ! " called Mrs. Gooderich, and the youth turned, the 
laugh dying away. 

" Come here ! " and he came, hands in pockets, dissatisfaction 
on his face. "Where's your coat?" 

" Lost it." 

" I saw how you lost it. How often 'ave I told you to keep 
away from that lot.^ You take no more notice o' me than if 
I spoke to the lamp-post." 

She closed the door and followed him into the room. 

" You'll stay here while I go and speak to Mr. Gills," she 
ordered, and she put on her hat with trembling fingers. " You 
can't think how I hate to have to go to respectable people about 
a thing like that. It was bad enough when you got the sack. 
You might behave yourself till you get something to do ! " 

He sat sullenly in a chnir, hands in pockets, his feet spread 
out with the heels dug into the floor. He remained in this 
posture while his mother crossed the road and disappeared into 
the blacksmith's shop. His liquid full brown eyes were clouded 
with moody self-reproaching anger. He knew it was all wrong, 
this tearing about the streets, this wanton pilfering and bell- 
ringing. He ought to be at work. That was the respectable 
thing for him, a great lout of nearly eighteen. But he had got 
" fed up " with Cortington's Repositories, the devil of " lark- 
ing" had led him too far, and on the previous Saturday the 
foreman had given him his money. What would it all end in? 
His mother with some asperity had told him he would go wrong. 
The son of the Irishwoman from Cavan had gone wrong al- 
ready, had stolen a watch one night in the Great Assembly Hall 
and had got "pinched." The Bohemian family never had any 
disgrace like that. With an almost uncanny facility they had 
got themselves into divers occupations, living malodorously be- 
hind their grey curtains, but with no breath of scandal ever 
hanging about their stairway. W^ith the lack of logic often as- 
sociated with villainy, Hannibal disliked the industrious swarm 
upstairs. Why didn't they stop in their own country, instead 
of taking bread out of the mouths of Englishmen? This argu- 
ment was not Hannibal's, of course, he had it from a man in the 
Repositories, a man who had strong views about aliens. 



230 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

He was sunk in one of his sullen moods when his mother re- 
turned and flung his coat over to him. 

" It's gettin' past a joke! " she broke out at him, as she took 
off her hat. " I'll go over and see your uncle at Kennin'ton to- 
morrow morning, and see if he can't put you to somethin'. 
Nothin' I say makes any difference. It's stealin', no less, what- 
ever your beautiful friends call it" 

He made no reply, but sat looking down at the floor. 

She looked at him with attention for a moment. 

"What's the matter with you, Hanny?" she cried. "Why 
don't you put your coat on? " 

" I'd no','* he grunted. " Can't 'ave a bit of a lark now." 

" Bit of a lark ! To steal an honest man's iron so you can go 
sell it in the Mile End Road and buy cigarettes? It's sort of 
lark you'll get six months for, my boy, and so you would this 
time if Mr. Gills weren't a gentleman. 

Oh, all right, all right. I ain't pinchin' 'is old iron all the 
time, am I? 



; II ivir. vjiiis weren i a genucinan." 
** \ja, ail 

" You tell your uncle that." 

*' I ain't goin' to tell 'im anything. I ain't goin' to 'ave any 
K wiui im," 



truck with 'im.' 

Why not?" demanded his mother, setting the table. Her 
voice faltered, for she knew in her heart she agreed with the boy. 

** Don't like him," growled Hannibal, getting slowly into the 
coat. It is noteworthy and curious that the mute anger which 
had flared into Minnie's eyes when she heard of her uncle's gen- 
erous provision for her mother, had its counterpart in Hannibal's 
untutored and undeveloped soul. And Mrs. Gooderich, lifting 
her head to speak, felt the invisible power of this antipathy, 
felt a responsive something in her own humiliated heart, and 
was silent. 

*' Come and get your tea," she said at length. " I must be 
off by half-past five." Hannibal drew his chair to the table and 
began. 

" What are you goin' to do? " she asked. " I can't keep you 
'ere eating your 'cad off." Hannibal squirmed in his chair. 

" Give me a chance," he mumbled, his mouth full. " I'll 'ave 
a look roun'." Mrs. Gooderich sighed. 

It is due to her to say that she did not sigh from mere selfish 
grief. She had never expected fortune to be particularly kind 
to her; she had always been thankful that she was a respectable 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 281 

woman instead of a nameless derelict. She sighed because of 
the apparent futility of her life^ because she seemed so help- 
less before her children. Minnie and Bert had simply ignored 
her^ and what was the result? Minnie was a lost one, a shame- 
less denizen of the half-world whence she herself had been res- 
cued in the nick of time. Bert^ against her wishes, had gone 
into the Army, had rushed gallantly to meet fate, and fate had 
met him more than halfway in the shape of a Schneider shell 
that had smashed him to a blackened pulp. There they were 
on the grained and varnished wall behind her now, Minnie al- 
most faded out of recognition, a demure damsel of fifteen, Bert 
in a group of his chums, with their yellow uniforms coming out 
badly in the photo, and their dog, who had moved and so seemed 
to have two heads. Was she proud of her soldier-son? Who can 
say,^ since she never spoke of him ? Nor can we speak with ex- 
actitude of her feelings towards that wilful daughter now that 
time had softened the hard joutlines of her wrongdoing. 

And now little Hanny was growing insurgent too, and she 
sighed as she cut the bread and spread it with margarine. Lit- 
tle Hanny, who was a head taller than his mother, ate without 
speaking after his appeal for a chance. He ought to have some 
one to look after him in the evenings, but what could she do? 
It was sometimes nine or half-past before she had finished in 
the City. She had tried to get him to " go in " for something 
at the People's Palace, but Hannibal was not that kind of a lad. 
The Bohemian family took to the People's Palace with avidity, 
lapping up knowledge in the classes and developing their Slavonic 
muscles in the gymnasium from September to May, another ex- 
ample of alien presumption. But not so Hannibal. Later on, 
as we shall see, he acquired the reading habit, with disastrous 
results, but for study and the social fidgets he had no facility. 
Behind the Bohemian curtains there was a silver shield, won 
by the juvenilia for athletics, and on the mantelpiece they 
showed their friends with pride an ormolu clock, the reward of 
the second daughter for swinging Indian clubs for an unheard-of 
time. Mr. Gills's little boy, even, a precocious Christian of 
five-and-a-half, had sung a solo at the Assembly Hall, which, 
so it was rumoured, had brought sinners staggering to the peni- 
tent form. Hannibal had shown no signs of eminence in any 
department of life. He himself was dissatisfied, though it is 
not in youth to admit it. The natural prankishness of adoles- 



232 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

cence had led him away from those strange dreams of his child- 
hood^ those dreams in which he saw the phantoms come and 
go, and Cortington's Repositories were no place to dream in. 
Cortington's Repositories, in fact, were a pretty good miniature 
of the whole world to Hannibal, being a dusty, noisy place, full 
of other people's property. Hannibal was " fed up " with them, 
which was equivalent to saying he was fed up with the world 
as he found it. To dart into Mr. Gills 's shop, seize an old file> 
a hammer, a nail-head or a piece of bar-iron, vanish round the 
corner into Jubilee Street, stroll through Stepney Green and out 
into the Mile End Road, and bargain with the Russian Jew 
who kept the second-hand tool and metal shop — well, it might 
not be respectable, but oh! it was a blessed change from the 
eternal expression of the Repositories. He was not a bad boy. 
Had he been sent to Eton at thirteen and Balliol at eighteen 
he would have turned out an admired specimen for the govern- 
ing-classes, though he had no faculty for governing. Had he 
gone to Merchant Taylors and passed into an old-established 
business, he would have proved a fair though somewhat dreamy 
junior partner with a taste for bric-4-brac and Persian Prints. 
But he was none of these things. He had, according to the Log- 
Cabin-to-White-House school, an equal chance with others to 
become Lord Chancellor or President of the Board of Trade. 
I do not think he had. As I have said, he lacked the vital spark 
of heavenly flame which is indispensable if one is to become a 
Lord Chancellor of a kingdom. President of a Republic or a 
Captain of Industry. He had nothing of the sublime genius 
of a Lipton, a Roosevelt, or an Alfred Jones. While in the Re- 
positories he had no hair-raising schemes for economising the 
expenses of storing pianos, no heaven-bom invention for simpli- 
fying the work and so throwing half the staff out of employ- 
ment. He has given the biographer, so far, very little material 
for rhetoric. Lacking the genius for making opportunity, he 
had had none. Evidently he has no turn for Greatness. The 
Bohemian family have long since outstripped him in the race, one 
of them even attaining to Cambridge and a wranglership. Some- 
thing must be done with him. Mrs. Gooderich travelling City- 
ward on the Aldgate train is wondering. Hannibal himself, as 
he lounges along the ^lile End Road, is wondering. Possibly the 
reader, if he has survived so far^ is wondering too. 
Let us see. 



II 

IT was just eleven o'clock next morning that Mrs. Goode- 
rich, pausing in her efforts to tidy up the front room, 
looked through the curtains and beheld Mrs. Gaynor and 
her son Hiram pushing open the gate and approaching the 
door of her home. Mrs. Gaynor's visits to her old friend had 
not been very frequent. The difficulties in those days of trav- 
elling from a nortliem suburb to Mile End Road were sufficient 
to deter the most hardy explorer. You may go to Japan via Si- 
beria at the present time with less anxiety and exhaustion. 

"Well now, how arc you.^ " said MrS. Gaynor when the door 
opened. " I dare say you didn't expeot me, did you ? " 

" No, I can't say I did," said Mrs. Gooderich, leading the 
way into the front room. "What's brought you down here so 
early?" 

" Hiram," said Mrs. Gaynor. " I was going down to see his 
ship and I thought I'd make one journey of it and see you too." 

Mrs. Gooderich looked at Hiram, who smiled pleasantly and 
stood turning his cap over. He was dressed in the uniform of 
the Merchant Service Apprentice, a double-breasted coat of pilot 
cloth with big brass buttons, and his cap was adorned with gold 
cord and a badge. His cheerful face was as brown as a berry, 
as were his hands, which were big and muscular, the happy result 
of much strenuous toil. 

"He does look well," sighed Mrs. Gooderich, and Hiram's 
mother regarded him with approval. 

" Why don't you send Hannibal to sea ? " she asked, when they 
were seated. " It 'ed do him a world of good." 

"Wliat can I do.^" complained Mrs. Gooderich. "I thought 
he was doin' well at the Repositories, and now they've discharged 
him without a reference. He's so rowdy too, and he won't listen. 
If I was to suggest anything he'd go against it for certain." 

" That's so," assented Mrs. Gaynor. " That is so. I shouldn't 

suggest it. Just pack him off." 

" How I I don't know anybody, I'm sure I'd be very glad, 

233 



2S4 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

though IVe no great fancy for a child of mine to be a sailor and 
get drowned." 

"We don't all get drowned, Mrs. Gooderich," snid Hiram, 
laughing. " I've been to sea two years and here I am safe as 
houses." 

*' Yes, but you might. There's always a danger." 

" So there is in the Cambridge Heath Road/' said Mrs. Gay- 
nor. " I was nearly run over this morning," 

Mrs. Gooderich smiled. 

" One gets used to it — all this traffic — after a time." 

''If you'd like to get Hannibal away on a ship, Mrs. Goode- 
rich, I'll speak to the Skipper. He might know of a chance," 
said Hiram. " It's hard work though, and hard grub too. 
P'raps he wouldn't like it? " 

" I 'ardly know what to do," she replied wearily. " Where is 
your ship?" 

*' Surrey Commercial Docks." 

"And there's Hannibal, isn't it?" exclaimed Mrs. Gaynor, 
pointing with her umbrella. Hannibal was visible leaning 
against the wall across the road, a cigarette in his mouth, con- 
versing with another youth. Mrs. Gooderich bit her lip in her 
anger as she went to the door and opened it. He saw her beck- 
oning, and slouched across holding the cigarette so that it was 
hidden in his sleeve. 

" Throw it away," she said quietly. " Here's Mrs. Gaynor 
and Hiram. They want to see you." Hannibal, flinging away 
the sodden mess, took off his cap and followed his mother into 
the room. 

" Why, Hanny, you're as big as Hiram ! " cried Mrs. Gaynor, 
who forgot for a moment the intense dislike young people have 
of all references to their growth. Hannibal stood uneasily shift- 
ing from one foot to the other. 

"Goin' away?" he managed to remark to the trim young 
sailor, who nodded cheerfully. 

" We were just saying, Hanny, that you might do well at sea, 
too," suggested Mrs. Gaynor. 

"Me!" said Hannibal, eyeing the pilot-cloth and the gold 
buttons. 

"Sure, you. Why not?" 

Hannibal was silent. This was a new idea, and neither he 
nor his mother were adepts in dealing with new ideas. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 2S5 

" Blow'd if I know/' he replied at length. " 'Ow d'you get 
a job to start?" 

" You ought to be apprenticed," said Hiram. 
" P'raps his uncle would help him/' suggested Mrs. Gaynor. 
There was another silence which Mrs. Gooderich relieved. 
" I'll see him/' she said, but she spoke reluctantly. 
** Wouldn't you like to come down and see the ship with us ? " 
asked Mrs. Gaynor. 

" If you like/' replied Hannibal, looking at his mother. '* I'd 
better 'ave a wash." 

While Hannibal was having a far from unnecessary scrub in 
the scullery, Mrs. Gaynor took a letter from her bag and handed 
it to her friend. 

" From Minnie/' she said briefly, and sat silently while Mrs. 
Gooderich got her glasses and read it. 

** She's comin' 'ome/' she said, handing it back. 
*' To London/' replied Mrs. Gaynor. " Will you see her? " 
** If she comes to see me I can't turn her out. But do you 
think for a moment she'd come 'ere? She isn't like you^ Mrs. 
Gaynor. She's a fine lady, lives on the best, I dare say. She 
won't come down 'ere, I'm quite sure." 

** You see? " said Mrs. Gaynor, looking over the letter. " She 
speaks of going into some business with this friend of hers. It 
may be — a change." 

" It would be — if it was honest. No, she'll come to me when 
she's sick and got no money, not before." 

" Mrs. Gooderich, I don't believe she would/' said the Amer- 
ican woman earnestly. " I think she's too much pride." 

** You mean she'd be ashamed of seein' her mother livin' down 
here? I dare say. Gels like her 'ave plenty of that sort o' 
pride." 

*' Well, we'll see, and I'll let you know when she writes to me. 
We must be charitable." 

"Oh, I'm very charitable/' assented Mrs. Gooderich with 
unwonted waspishness. " I can afford to be, in my posi- 
tion." 

And then Hannibal returned, and Mrs. Gaynor switched the 
conversation away to literature. Mrs. Gaynor, while admitting 
the genius of Augusta Wilson, thought Mrs. Southworth her su- 
perior in novel-writing, and it was that lady's Ishmael which 
Mrs. Gooderich had been reading. 



2S6 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" How do you like it? Isn't it a great story? " asked Mrs. 
Gaynor. 

•* Beautiful," agreed Mrs. Gooderieh. " He docs marry that 
Countess^ I s'pose ? " 

" Sure^ and the poor thing he'd married in secret dies. 
Haven't you got to it yet? " 

" No. I read so slow," admitted the widow. ** I was won- 
derin' if the Countess 'ed get him, and then I couldn't think how 
he'd manage with the wife he had." 

" She dies," repeated Mrs. Gaynor solemnly. 

"That's the hcst of stories," remarked Mrs. Gooderieh. 
" You can always let them die if they're in the way. It's dif- 
ferent in real life." 

It is. 

Hannibal had washed his hands and brushed his hair and boots^ 
and now appeared ready for the expedition. 

" Will you be back to dinner? " asked his mother. 

" I'll see to that," said Mrs. Gaynor. " Hanny'U have to es- 
cort me back to the City. The ship don't sail till to-night, but 
I'll have to be getting back this afternoon." 

" I'll be out a bit, so if he's not to be back at dinner-time I 
needn't hurry." 

" Not a bit o' need. You go right along and do the errands. 
Hiram, where's that — oh, here, it's in my bag." And Mrs. Gay- 
nor placed a pot of her home-made jam on the table. "Vic- 
toria Plum. I hope you'll like it. Now we must be getting 
along." 

They got along, and Mrs. Gooderieh, looking through the cur- 
tains at them as they walked towards Stepney Green, noted with 
a certain satisfaction that Hannibal was bigger than Hiram, 
and would no doubt look as well if he had the same uniform. 
This brought her back to the half-formed decision which had 
led her to hint she might be out for a while. Should she go 
to see her brother-in-law, Mr. Brown, and ask him to assist 
her in sending Hannibal to sea? There was much against it. 
She did not like either the idea of the sea or the idea of asking 
her brother-in-law's help. But was it not her duty? That was 
the worst of Mrs. Gooderieh. She never knew whether any 
course of action was her duty or not. As a rule, when she did 
an unpleasant thing, it was not because she was convinced it was 
her duty, but because she was afraid it might be. It was in this 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 287 

mood that she made her vray, after an early dinner, towards 
Xennington. She would ask her brother-in-law's help, he would 
very likely decline; she hoped he would; she would have done 
her duty and would then proceed to do something which was 
not her duty, namely, leave Hannibal to get some casual employ- 
ment. 

The curious thing is that Mr. Brown and his family were 
quite unconscious of any reason why Mrs. Gooderich should not 
accept assistance at their hands. Mr. Brown was still the man 
with the humorous blue eye who had stayed the funeral cortege 
at the " Northern Star " and regaled himself with pork-pie and 
stout. He was more successful, that was all. He had got on. 
From a slippery little ledge on the lower slopes of the moun- 
tain, after a period of peril so terrible tliat only a single rope 
held him dangling over the Bankruptcy crevasse, he had reached 
a narrow path which led each year higher and higher. That 
dangle on the rope had greyed his hair, but it had not destroyed 
his sense of humour. He had no pride at all in the sense that 
Mrs. Gooderich understood pride. He would have puzzled in 
vain to know why his sister-in-law was reluctant to be under any 
further obligation to him. He had gone out of his way to get 
her recommended for the work of cleaning those offices in the 
City, he had got her that quite desirable third of a house at a 
ridiculously trivial rent. What could he do? 

But as a matter of fact, Mr. Brown was too busy getting on 
to do any puzzling at all. He understood his business, and now 
that he had ceased to dangle and had good solid rocks under 
his feet, he took a great pleasure in increasing his business and so 
gave his sister-in-law very little thought. It may be that this 
was one of the reasons why she was loath to ask more of him. 
The widow and tlie fatherless are very quick to discern whether 
your sympathy be perfunctory or really from the heart. They 
have no business to be so fastidious, seeing who they are, but 
the fact remains that a poor foolish widow like ^Irs. Gooderich, 
and a poor InefTective orphan like Hannibal, will have more pride 
than a prosperous builder like ]Mr. Brown, who really could af- 
ford to be stuck-up. 

It could hardly be expected that Mrs. Brown, who was so 
helpless an invalid in the old days that she had to drink port 
and oatmeal stout, would be any better now that her husband had 
got on. She was not. She had grown steadily worse until noth- 



288 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

log but Bournemouth and Heidsieck could keep the breath in 
her body. It was a great relief to Mrs. Gooderlch to know that 
she was not called on to meet Mrs. Brown. There is bound to 
be patronage and stubborn resentment in such encounters be- 
tween sisters-in-law until humanity is scrapped and made over 
afresh. The daughters were much more bearable^ Mrs. Goode- 
rlch thought^ they being quite unaffectedly pleased with their 
prosperity and glad to see their aunt. 

The neat bow-windowed house^ with its little office built out 
at the side^ was in one of the many turnings off the Kennington 
Road. As Mrs. Gooderich came up to the gate^ Mr. Brown was 
standing in the way leading to his yard at the back^ talking to 
his foremati. He did not hasten out to bid her welcome^ though 
he was glad to see her. He just waved his hand and waited for 
her to come up to him. Another piece of presumption and fool- 
ish pride; the widow resented it. 

" Well, Mary, how's things? Come over to see us? " 

*' Yes, George, I thought I'd just run over and have a word 
with you. How are you all? " 

"Oh, fairish. The missis is just as usual. She goes out in 
a bath chair a bit, y'know, but she don't seem to get any stronger. 
Beef-tea an' Bengers, an' a glass o' champagne. Nothin' else 
yet, doctor ses." 

"An' the children?" Mrs. Gooderich began to be sorry she 
had come. It seemed more difficult than ever to ask a favour. 

" A-h," replied Mr. Brown. " That reminds me of something. 
But what's the trouble? You said you'd come over to 'ave a 
word with me." 

All this time he stood there in the yard entrance, his broad 
body planted firmly on his great stout legs encased in black 
leather leggings, his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, and his 
humorous blue eyes glancing over his little sister-in-law. She 
had walked nearly a mile from the train and she looked round 
vaguely as though in search of a seat. 

" Well, I was thinkin',— but if you're busy " 

** Not for a few minutes. Let's go indoors, and see Amelia^ 
she's somewhere roun'." 

He led the way through the little office and into the drawing- 
room. 

The house, like most of those owned by people who have some 
money but no pride, was rather over-furnished. It was scarcely 






CASUALS OF THE SEA £89 

safe to stand still in the drawinj^room, so congested was the 
space with goat-leg chairs^ curio-cabinets^ ' Chesterfields and 
small tables. Everything was covered with photographs and 
vases^ the walls were reinforced with oil-paintings of sheep in 
fields, enlargements of the family-portraits in colours, and plush- 
framed mementoes of Margate, Bournemouth, and Ilfracombe. 
Mr. Brown pointed to a straight-backed chair and settled him- 
self in the Chesterfield. 

"Amy!" he called, adding to Mrs. Gooderich, "She'll be 
down in a minute." 

She was down in less than a minute, and so was EtheL They 
had seen their aunt from a bedroom window and had lost no 
time in changing their blouses and repinning their hair. They 
entered together, two buxom well-looking young women, and of- 
fered their cheeks to be kissed. 

How are you, Aunt? " said Amelia. 

How are you. Auntie? " said Ethel. Then they patted their 
hair, glanced at their reflections in the overmantel, and sat down 
carefully. 

"Now to business," said their father. "What was it yon 
wanted to see me about? " It occurred to him as he sat there 
that it was delightful to do any one a good turn, especially a poor 

relative. 

" It's about Hannibal. I've thought of sendin' 'im to sea." 

" Sendin' 'im to sea ! " repeated Mr. Brown in consternation, 
and his daughters repeated the words — 

" Sendin' 'im to sea ! " 

Mr. Brown was British to the backbone, and he had the Brit- 
isher's horror of the sea, but his astonishment was not merely 
at the idea. To think that his sister-in-law had hit on such an 
extraordinary scheme! And he said the words again, quite un- 
able to frame any other comment for the moment. 

" Sendin' 'im to sea ! " 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Gooderich in a low, nervous voice. " You 
see, I was talkin' to Mrs. Gaynor the other day, an' her boy's 
doin' well on a ship, an' — an' — so " 

" Did the give you the idea? 



We thought it might be a ^ood thing," faltered the widow. 
"And leave his job?" 
" He left it last Saturday." 
"Sacked?" 



240 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Some little thing. . . . He's been there eighteen months/' 
flared the mother^ defending her son^ her heart sinking. 

" Fancy ! " breathed the two sisters^ watching their aunt with 
the unwinking gaze of young women destitute of pride. 

" Any reference ? " 

" The foreman was that short I had no chance — they won't 
listen to a woman^" she muttered. 

" Well — and so, what is it you wanted — my advice ? " 

"I — Mrs. Gaynor thought you might be able to — to get him 
on a ship." 

Now this was, in all justice to Mr. Brown, a most unreason- 
able request. Mr. Brown knew as much about ships as he knew 
about the Differential Calculus. He was as far from the ship- 
ping world as he was from Mahomet's Paradise, and he felt ag- 
grieved that his sister-in-law should show such ignorance of life 
as to expect anything else. 

" Get *im on a ship ? Why, Lord bless me, Mary, you 'aven't 
took leave of your five senses, 'ave you? " 

" I didn't think it 'ed be much use," she said. " I told Mrs. 
Gaynor it wouldn't be any use." 

Ethel looked at Amelia and Amelia framed the word " Fib." 
And Ethel nodded. 

'* I should think not. Why — why — if Mrs. Gaynor's so fond 
o' the sea, why don't the do somethin' for 'im? " 

" They've only got one ship, she said, and they don't take many 
boys. An' there's a premium too." 

" That's it, is it? Me to pay the premium? For a boy as 
gets the sack an' no reference. Mary, I'm surprised." 

He was. He hadn't a particle of pride, but he was surprised 
that a widow woman who was glad to take a sovereign a week 
for cleaning offices, should have dreamed of an apprenticeship 
for her boy. Young John was in the engineering and costing a 
pretty penny in books and keep, Ethel had served an intermit- 
tent novitiate at the gentle art of winding wire round flower 
stems and making up buttonholes and wreaths. But Amelia had 
faced life unflinchingly behind a tobacconist's coimter, and Tom, 
his beloved Tom-tom, the right-hand man of his business, he 
had never had no apprenticeship. True, Mr. Brown had been 
dangling by a rope at that time, with but few thoughts to bestow 
on any of them, and Tom had proved one of those adaptable 
mortals who can see money in anything and can extract it without 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 241 

fuss. Bnt what has all this to do with the case of the widow who 
sits on that straight-backed chair? By what law^ human or di- 
vine, can she lay claim to such a start for her boy? 

As Mr. Brown himself said sotto voce when a liner was 
wrecked and all the survivors were saloon passengers: '' What's 
the use of goin' first-class, if the steerage stand as good a chance 
as you do? " 

He was not proud, but he could not see it. 

Mrs. Gooderich rose. 

" It don't signify — I thought very likely you wouldn't fall in 
with the idea." 

"Well, hold on a bit — sit down — we've got something to 
say first/' said Mr. Brown. " It's really Amelia's business and 
she can tell you." Mr. Brown peered through the thick screen 
of plants, gold fish, and curtains which obscured the window. 
" I see Tom's out there with a man I want to speak to." 

He went out, and the two girls sat looking at their aimt for a 
few moments. And then Amelia began to explain. 

" The fact is," she remarked, wilh numerous little feminine 
movements, ** I've had a little legacy left me. You didn't know 
our Uncle Bartholomew, did you. Auntie? He wasn't really 
uncle, only a cousin o' dad's. Well, anyway, he took a fancy to 
me when I was little, and what does he do but leave me some- 
thing in his will." 

" I've 'card of 'im. Amy. He 'ad 'ouses, I think." 

" No, property," corrected Amelia gravely. " But he didn't 
leave that to me." She tittered and looked at her aunt as if 
to say, " I shouldn't be wasting my time talking to you if I'd 
been left real property." " No," she went on, " this little legacy 
is the unexpired lease of a shop in Billiter Lane. Goodness 
knows how he got 'old of such a thing, but I expect it was a 
bad debt — it generally is. It's a hosier's business now; the 
old gentleman used to pay a man to run it. Now he's gone and 
left it to me. I'm not goin' to pay a man thirty shillin' a week 
to make a pound profit. You see? So we had a sale and cleared 
it out." 

" What arc you goin' to do ? Let it ? " 

"The lease has only four years to run and any tenant 'ed 
want alterations no end. So I'm goin' to get dad to fix it up as 
a tobacconist's, which is a business I know something about, and 
look after it myself. Dad's great on shop-fittin'. He says 






£42 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

there's a fortune in it. But I told him he wouldn't make any for- 
tunes out of me 'cause he was to do it cost price." 

" I see/' said Mrs. Gooderich because she didn't see. 

''So that brings me/' continued Amelia^ "to the reason I'm 
tellin' 70U all this. You know where Billiter Lane is ? " 

Mrs. Gooderich shook her head vaguely^ and both sisters sat 
with pursed lips. They were very patient and good-tempered 
about it^ but Aunt Mary was slow. 

Well, it's off a turning this end o' Fenchurch Street." 
Near Aldgate? " said her aunt, now thoroughly cowed. The 
two girls nodded. 

" Well then, it's not so far from your place, and I was thinkin' 
that as I couldn't be tied hand and foot I'd have to have an 
assistant. An' so, to keep it in the family, it struck me Cousin 
Hanny 'ed find it a good opening. Not much to start, of course, 
but in time he'd get on, and it's much more gentlemanly work than 
a furniture warehouse. Don't you think so ? " 

** Oh, yes. Amy, yes, my dear. It's very good of you. You'd 
teach him the business, you mean?" 

** I'd teach him the business/' assented Amelia, seizing a fresh 
point of view with the quickness of a lightning flash. " Free of 
charge, and he can open the place in the morning and close it up 
at night." 

" Oh, you won't be livin' there? " 

Amelia closed her eyes in mute despair, and then looked ap- 
pealingly towards her sister, signalling to her, " Do you think t/V 
any wonder she's poor? " 

"Aunt Mary/' she said, "do you know the rents in Billiter 
Lane?" 

Aunt Mary shook her head sadly. 

" Well, for a room no bigger 'n this one you're sittin' in, they 
get five pounds a week ! " 

" Good gracious ! " 

" I should think so ! My place is only half as big as this, and 
I could get three pounds a week for it if the lease had any time 
to run; but as soon as people know it's up in four years they're 
off." 

" I see/' remarked Mrs. Gooderich. " Hanny could walk, I 
should think." 

"If he's got legs," agreed Amelia amiably. " I suppose he 
has the usual number." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 84^ 

** Here's father comin' in again/' remarked EtheL 

She was two years younger than Amelia and always under- 
took the irrelevant remarks. " Isn't it a lovely day? " she en- 
quired of her aunt. It was a lovely day to the two girls^ no 
doubt^ but 1 don't think that^ so far^ it had impressed Mrs. Goode- 
rich as being very lovely. So she only smiled weakly and looked 
up at her brother-in-law. 

" Welly how is it now } " he asked^ taking the Chesterfield again. 
" What do you think of Amy's idea? " 

" I think it'll do very nicely," rcpUed Mrs. Gooderich. " It's 
very good of Amy to give 'im a chance." 

"To learn the business/' added Amelia, with a look at her 
father which was at once accepted, answered, and filed for refer- 
ence. 

*' Bit better'n goin' to sea, I reckon/' he suggested, with a 
smile. " I suppose," he added, " I suppose he'll take it on, 
won't 'e?" 

" Oh, yes. I'll speak to him about it as soon as I get 'ome." 

" That's the style," he replied, looking meditatively at the 
small bent figure and thinking about an investment he had had 
on his mind for some time. A successful man, or even a man 
achieving success, has many things to think of. " That's the 
style. It'll make a man of him. Let's see, 'ow old is 'e now ? " 

" Eighteen nex' birthday/' said the mother. The two girls 
looked at each other for a moment. They had not realised that 
even poor people grow up. It is very presumptuous of them, but 
they will do it. Not even ** stunted/' according to slumming 
rules, for Mrs. Gooderich added, " An' big for 'is age." 

" It must be two years since he was 'ere/' mused Mr. Brown. 
" 'E was only a lad then." 

" 'E's been runnin' up," she explained apologetically. 

" You ought to bring 'im over sometimes," he told her, and she 
made no reply to this except to rise once more. 

'* That's not the time? " she asked, looking at the gilded clock 
which had stopped at half-past ^ve three weeks before. Mr. 
Brown looked at his gold watch. 

" Three," he said, clicking the lid and polishing it with his 
thumb. " Just three." 

" I must be goin'/' said Mrs. Gooderich, holding out her band. 
He took it heartily. 

•' Well, bye-bye. Let Amy know as soon as you can," 



244 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

•• Yes. Good-bye, Amy. Oood-bye, Ethel.'* 

As their aunt was passing through the hall, Ethel looked at 
Amelia and Amelia shook her head. 

** Take care o' yourself/' was Mr. Brown's remark as he closed 
the door. 

" Eighteen ! " exclaimed Ethel, when the little servant had 
brought the girls their tea up to their snuggery. Amelia stirred 
hers meditatively. 

" He may be a handful," she remarked. '' It's plain he's too 
much for her to manage." 

" She never said a word about Minnie." 

"It's not likely, is it?" 

Ethel's eyes were round with interest as she stared at her 
sister. She was growing up and approaching the time when 
Amy would confide fully. She knew in a vague way that Aunt 
Mary had a past, and she knew in a way somewhat less vague 
that Cousin Minnie had, so to speak, a present which would ulti- 
mately develop into a lurid subject for non-primitive young la- 
dies to discuss. But as she stared at her sister, Amelia took 
up her novelette and resumed her perusal of the adventures of 
a poor heroine who had been wronged. So Ethel resigned her- 
self patiently to a little more waiting, and continued her initia- 
tion into womanhood by taking up her own novelette, which 
treated of the adventures of a fascinating widow who visited 
country houses, broke guardsmen's hearts and stole diamonds. 



Ill 

As Mrs. Gooderich hurried home she had a great fear 
gripping her heart, a fear that transcended all her 
feelings of sadness and jealoasy which had been 
aroused by the visit to her successful brother-in-law. 
It was the fear that by foolishly letting Hannibal go to see 
Hiram's ship, she had spoiled the chance of getting him to fall 
in with the new scheme. For Mrs. Gooderich, in spite of her 
reluctance to accept favours from Kennington, was heart and 
soul in sympathy with the commercial career as compared with 
the nautical life approved by Mrs. Gaynor. What if Mrs. Gay- 
nor had induced Hannibal to ship himself away immediately? 
What if he were already tossing about on the ocean? Mrs. 
Gooderich's ideas of maritime procedure were vague. And it 
must be remembered that the sea was connected inseparably in 
her mind with running away. The Mercantile Marine, she imag- 
ined, was entirely manned by disreputable young fellows who 
had done something and run away to sea. The Navy, of course, 
was different. If you were in the Navy, you wore low-necked 
jumpers, very baggy trousers, and appeared in your native vil- 
lage at long intervals on leave with a bundle done up in a blue 
handkerchief. 

But Amelia's plan, apart from its Kennington origin, prom- 
ised to be an admirable start in life. Mrs. Gooderich had never 
heard of Napoleon's famous taunt. She would have seen noth- 
ing libellous in it. She would have only wished we were a na- 
tion of shopkeepers and she herself one of them. But while 
in a general way you needed capital, in this case that terrible 
difficulty was overcome. It was a fine idea, but all the way home 
she had recurring fits of panic as she thought of Hannibal pre- 
paring to run away to sea. 

But Hannibal was there when she returned, still in his clean 
collar and his hair not yet tousled. An unusually quiet and self- 
contained Hannibal, who made no remarks of any importance 
while his mother hastily prepared their tea. 

" Did you see the slidp? '* she enquired; and he nodded. 

246 



240 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

'' Is it a big one? '* And he nodded again. 

" I've seen your uncle/' she told him nervously. " He says he 
can get you a job." 

** On a ship ? " he asked, turning round from the window. 

" No. He says 'e don't know anjrthin' about 'em. It's a to- 
bacconist's, in the City." 

"Oh/' said Hannibal, and resumed his contemplation of a 
game of tip-cat in Assembly Passage. 

** Your Cousin Amy's 'ad it left 'er, and she wants a lad to 
look after it, open it and lock up at night, you see," she went on 
hurriedly. *' It's a good opcnin' to Icam the business, as she's 
been in that sort o' thing, so I thought — you'd better take it. 
What's the matter? Why don't you answer? " 

He turned on her again. 

"Why do other people 'ave all the fat?" he asked hoarsely. 
"Why didn't father git on same as Uncle George? Nobody 
leaves u$ tobacconist's shops, as could do with 'em." 

" 'Ere's a chance to get on," she replied quietly. 

" So they say; *ow much a week? " 

" I didn't ask. It wouldn't be much at first, till you'd learned 
the business." He made no answer and she went on again. 

It'll be more'n you get at sea." He laughed grimly. 

It couldn't be less, old lady/' he assured her, thinking of 
Hiram's statement that he was in receipt of five shillings a week 
until he was out of his time. 

"There you are/' she argued. "This idea of Amy's is the 
chance of a lifetime, and you'd better take it. She may not ask 
twice." 

" I ain't ast her once yet/' he replied in a low voice. 

" What's the matter with you, Hanny ? " 

" I'd'no. Some'ow I get fed up with it, seeing everybody else 
'avin' a good time. Look at Hiram now " 

" What does 'e get a week? " she asked. 

"Get? He gets nothin'! Mrs. Gay nor 'ad to plank down 
twenty quid to put 'im there, and they give 'im five bob a week 
out of it. That's what I mean; 'e don't 'ave to earn anythin'. 
And 'ere's Amy 'avin' shops left 'er. I git fed up with it, that's 
all." 

He sat sideways on his chair, staring moodily through the 
grey curtains into the street, and struggling with a vague, form- 
less desire, a desire that became in time a reincarnation of those 



«< 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 247 

purposeless imaginings of his childhood. Like nuny inartica- 
late souls^ he was compelled to falsify his emotions by his ex- 
pression of them. He did not reaiJy envy others for their good 
fortune. What he felt was that at bottom he was unfitted for the 
life in harness which seemed his only destiny. Whichever way 
he looked he saw the collar of servitude and toil waiting for his 
neck. And as he stood on the deck of the great, beautiful ship, 
the white yards and endless complexity of her cordage soaring 
above him, as he had stood there looking across at the great 
steamers and caught, as it were, a hint of the vast heaving world 
through which they had ploughed, a passionate hatred of his dul- 
ness and impotence took possession of him. If he could only get 
away out of it. 

Hiram, showing him the berth he shared with another brawny, 
brown-faced youth, had supplied in some sort an answer to Han- 
nibal's hazy questionings. Hiram said that he might get a job 
on a steamer as an ordinary, but the pay was poor and the 
work was filthy. Or he might go — here Hirnm looked at his 
chum who was twenty and smoked a pipe — he might go as a 
steward. 

" Me ! " scorned Hannibal. *' I don't know nothin' o' stew- 
ard's work." 

" Mess room," said the pipe-smoker. " Yon soon get into it. 
It isn't sailoring, I know, but it runs to a pretty good job later 
on. Six or seven pound a month besides what the Old Man 
gives you." 

Hannibal looked at the speaker respectfully as he stood there 
against the bunk, his muscular arms crossed, his brown face 
clouded with the smoke of his briar. 

" I'll think it over," he said. " How d'you get a job; just go 
on board an' ask ? " And they nodded courteously. And then 
Mrs. Gaynor, who had been talking to the captain's wife, came 
along and said they must be off. 

Hannibal often thought of that excursion down to another 
world, a world of which Londoners least of all seem to have any 
consciousness. And he remembered the journey up into the City 
with Mrs. Gaynor. He was not very clear as to her meaning 
sometimes, but he felt she was to be trusted. Mrs. Gaynor never 
failed to give that feeling, even though you were antagonistic 
to her. You could not for the life of yon suspect her of advis- 
ing 0OIDC course for her own aggrandisement. And so, when she 



248 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

said to Hannibal in the *haB, " Now^ Hannj, you're the only one 
left over to your mother now^ so you must be a man and take 
hold/' he interpreted, "taking hold" as doing something for 
his living at once. 

" D'you reckon I could get on a ship — like Hiram? " he asked 
hesitatingly. 

" Why, I spoke to Captain Baines about it> and he said he 
didn't know what he could do until the other apprentice is fin- 
ishedy and that'll be next voyage. But do you think you'd like 
it? You see, your mother '11 be lonely all by herself." 

" Same's you," he suggested. 

*' I'm never lonely," replied Mrs. Gaynor, her grey-green eyes 
illumined by a curious light. " Your mother isn't like me, she 
needs company. She's not like me, and you." 

"Me? Why me? I ain't particularly fond o' bein' by me- 
self." 

As he uttered the words he realised that they distorted the 
truth, that at bottom he despised his friends and their chivying, 
and would have withdrawn to quieter haunts if the common crav- 
ings of human life had been more rationally and adequately 
sated. 

Mrs. Gaynor had not answered him at first. She had sat there 
in the 'bus leaning forward and grasping her umbrella and bag 
firmly, thinking that though Hannibal was about the same age as 
Minnie when they had gone for a little jaunt together, yet she 
could not make Hannibal understand like Minnie. 

" You used to be," she had said at length. 

" Ah," he replied, looking out at the crowded street. " I used 
to be a lot o' things I ain't now." 

" You're running up," said Mrs. Gaynor, looking at him 
earnestly, "and you'll soon be a man. And yet you have no 
friends." 

I know a lot of chaps," he persisted, in spite of himself. 
I said friends, as Hiram and Harry Grantley are on the 
Cygnet. I feel as safe as safe about Hiram since he's been to 
sea, because he wrote and told me about his chum. Now, Hanny, 
you ought not to grow up without a real chum." 

" I'll do whatever you tell me," he declared. " Shall I go and 
try for a job on a steamer, or stick 'ere in London? " 

" You must do what your mother thinks best. I don't be- 
lieve she'd stand in your light, but all the same, Hanny, don't 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S49 

forget she's had a great deal to put up with^ and try to make it 
easier for her." 

Hannibal was wondering wbj, if this green-eyed lady was as 
rich as his mother surmised^ she didn't dress better and offer to 
pay his premium to indenture him to the sea? But that was not 
Mrs. Gaynor's way at all. She did a great and rare service to 
the world by living in it; her influence made a great deal of differ- 
ence to those who experienced it, and she felt that this subtle 
psychic beneficence would have been vitiated by any traffic in 
money. Hannibal^ of course, did not know this ; he merely won- 
deredy and came to the conclusion that Mrs. Ga3mor was not so 
very rich after all. Which was as near the truth as any one ever 
attained. 

Perhaps it was the result of that influence that he returned 
home from his visit to the good ship Cgynet in a somewhat chas- 
tened moody which was only marred by the chafing effects of the 
Brown family's success. When he made his statement to his 
mother that he was " fed up/' she put down the bread-knife and 
came over to him. 

'' Fed up? And don't you think I'm fed up with it too^ long 
ago? Do you think I want to go and take their leavin'? But 
we can't starve. We've got to take what's offered. Beautiful 
countesses don't come round with bags of money nowadays/' she 
continued bitterly, thinking of the novel she had been reading. 
** And even if you've got relations as are well off, it's as bitter 
as death to take it from 'em. What right 'ave we to pick and 
choose?" 

** There y'are/' he replied in a low tone. " That's just where 
I bring up every time, and I'm gettin' sick of it." 

Mrs. Gooderich was standing *' over him," staring through her 
curtains. She roused with a start. 

" But you'll take it, Hanny ? " She almost whined. " Don't 
let them say we threw it back at 'em." 

" Yes, I'll do as you like, old lady/' he assured her, getting up 
and going to the table. As he rose and towered over her, rump- 
ling his hair with one hand while the other stretched out hori- 
zontally, Mrs. Gooderich was struck by a new thought. She was 
nearly strangled by the suddenness and the lunacy of it, but she 
could not dismiss it. 

"Hanny/' she said, ''when did you last see your Cousin 
Amy?" 



250 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Hannibal yawned again^ and reaching ont took a piece of bread 
and margarine by the edge and dropped it flat on his plate. He 
began his tea. 

"I d'no/' he said, his month fulL "Which is the oldest. 
Amy or Ethel ? " 

*' Amy/' said his mother, looking hard at him and still tam- 
ing over her new lunatic idea in her brain. 

"Ain't been there since I was at the Repositories," he said. 
"Why?" 

" Nothing," said his mother, and changed the subject. 



IV 

THE meeting was under the eye of Mr. Brown and there- 
fore formal; Hannibal was somewhat tongae-Ued and 
conscious of his clean collar. But in spite of these dis- 
abilities he made a favourable impression upon Amelia^ 
and Ethel, had she been yet further advanced in knowledge of 
life, would have detected an unwonted softness in her sister's 
face. 

" Well, young man," said the humorous uncle, " you've been 
takin' the law into your own 'ands lately. ChuckJn' your job, 
an' threatenin' to run away to seal Tut tutl " 

Young John, who was in the engineering and who therefore 
was presentable to strangers at week-ends only, looked up at 
this, and the story had to be retold for his benefit. He did not 
seem so shocked as his father had been, seemed in fact more in- 
terested in Hannibal than before. 

Thomas, his father's Tom-tom and right-hand man, followed 
his sisters, trying to make the young man feel as though he 
were one of the family. They plied him with all the provender 
of a high tea, for the Browns, having no pride, were still far 
from that stage of success which is accompanied by late dinner. 
The servant did not wait as yet, merely bringing in the food and 
returning later to clear away. And Amelia, by whose side he 
sat, was gracious and encouraging. 

" Anybody 'd think I was a terror!" he laughed, when the 
panic occasioned by so many dishes had passed from hinu He 
did not look like a terror as he sat there, his hair brushed up from 
his forehead with a wet brush, the blinding light of three in- 
candescent mantles descending upon him. The Browns were 
still under the impression that their success should be demon- 
strated to themselves by excess of light. They had worked up 
from one mantle to three on the gasolier, with two (never used) 
on either side of the fire-place. This greenish radiance dis- 
turbed strangers and nude ihe girls look plain, but they had not 
yet attained to subtlety in such things. 

Mr. Brown ate steadily with the appetite of a healthy and 

251 



252 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

unembarrassed man, leaving his daughters to make the conver- 
sation. This they proceeded to do after their own fashion. 
The business of making Hannibal one of the family went on 
apace. 

" Have a little more tongue, Hanny? ** said Amelia, who was 
hostess. 

"Tom, pass the mustard," said Ethel, pushing the salt to- 
wards her cousin, who was holding his plate for more tongue. 

"Have you been to any theatres?" asked Ethel, who was 
fond of them. 

" Not much. I've been to the Paragon now and then." 

" We saw the Sign of the Cross the other night." 

"What's it like? I've 'card of it." 

" It's splendid ! So real, you know." 

" Did you see it? " Hannibal asked Amelia, and she nodded 
seriously. 

" It's a lovely piece. You ought to go and see it. It's always 
on somewhere." 

"What's it about?" 

" Oh, the Christians in Rome, you know. It's very religious." 

" Is that so ? Fancy ! At a theatre too ! " 

" Clergymen go to see it," observed Ethel, looking into Hanni- 
bal's cup. " More tea ? " 

" Thanks. I seen a piece called the Fightin' Parson once, but 
I didn't see any clergymen there," remarked HannibaL 

" That's only a sketch ! " said Amelia, with a contempt diffi- 
cult to imagine now. " The Sign of the Cross is quite different." 

" I must see it," said the young man, wondering where he 
would find the money to go to theatres. 

" Aunt Mary doesn't like theatres, does she? " enquired Ethel, 
and Hannibal looked grave. 

" No," he said, " she don V He tried to imagine his mother 
at a theatre and failed. 

When tea was over young John offered Hannibal a cigarette. 
Somewhat embarrassed he took it, knocking the end on his 
thumbnail in a way that damned him as one experienced in ciga* 
rettes. His cousin Amelia watched him lean over towards John's 
match, and hoped it wasn't a vice with him. She had not been 
prepared for a cousin quite so grown up as he had proved to 
be; in fact her intended attitude of patronage would have been 
impossible if Hannibal had been more sophisticated. She was 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 253 

half angry with herself for liking him^ yet like him she did. He 
had the full swimming eye that draws womcn^ and though the 
cigarette hahit might breed trouble in a tobacconist's, it made 
him seem more manly and — subtle point — independent of his 
mother. 

I have reiterated^ perhaps to weariness^ the lack of pride in 
the Brown family^ and it is a fresh demonstration of it that^ so 
far, they had not conceived any notions of consolidating their 
position by means of advantageous marriages. The lady who 
might have engineered any such campaign was on her back in 
a Bournemouth hydro^ entirely preoccupied with her own in- 
terior and the stimulants which alone retarded dissolution. 
Amelia and Ethel had no " fancy " idea which prevented them 
from enjoying the society of " boys " of whose financial status 
they were quite ignorant beyond their ability to pay for choc- 
olates and seats in the upper circle. Ethel was still in the 
engagement period^ her clandestine attachments varying in dura- 
tion from two days to a fortnight^ with intervals of a week. It 
may lower her in the reader's estimation, but it will certainly 
convince him that she was not proud, when it is stated that for 
the whole of the preceding September she had been engaged 
simultaneously to a junior clerk at Bournemouth {cttat nineteen) 
and a pattern-maker, a chum of John's, at Camberwell. The 
temperament which survives, nay flourishes, on such quick-change 
passion is the temperament most often found in families who 
are getting on, who are healthy in body, active in mmd, and who 
find in the Sign of the Cross a sublime moral lesson for their 
souls. Nothing can stop these people in their onward career; 
they fill up every ditch as they go. They take no chances, are 
prepared for every emergency. Does one part of the business 
fail? They recoup one another. Is their house burnt? They 
are insured. Does a great disaster overwhelm their investments ? 
Sons and daughters have each a calling and are at once earning 
waires. This temperament needs no pride to bolster it, it shines 
upon them and upon all their works as the incandescents glare 
down upon their sumptuous high-teas. 

Amelia, of course, as became a girl who had a legacy, no 
longer entangled her emotions so promiscuously as Ethel; and 
it was characteristic of the Browns that she had no word of re- 
proof for her sister. But Amelia had no particle of the snob- 
bishness which would have led her to regard her poor cousin 



254 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

as so much East End dirt. The keen though unconscious pleas- 
ure which she took in cowing her aunt had its origin in quite 
another quarter. It had in fact two origins. One was Mrs. 
Gooderich's stiffness — her pride in fact — when the Browns 
were in the depths^ and the other was Amelia's knowledge^ 
through her mother, of the circumstances that led up to Mary 
Higgs marrying Amelia's Uncle Herbert. But the girl who 
refrained from babbling of those circumstances to her sister was 
not likely to let them affect her attitude towards the honestly- 
born blood-relative Hannibal. Behold here another point in 
the Brown breed. The good Berkshire blood which had gone 
to water in Mrs. Brown was red enough in her children, and 
carried with it a sane ethic which set a limit to the ostracism of 
bastardy. For them a man honest in business was the noblest 
work of God, but an honest woman was a frequent and gratifying 
spectacle and nothing to make a song about. Ethel's indiscre- 
tions ran not beyond sitting on a park seat with her lips glued 
to those of the hour; but her father had no fear whatever that 
she would overstep the somewhat elastic bounds of suburban 
propriety. And for the very reason that they felt passion in 
a healthily subordinated manner, they affected books and plays 
wherein passion is a wild and murderous emotional debauch, 
and regarded the Aunt Marys of life with piquant interest and 
wide-eyed wonder at their foolishness. 

Hannibal, therefore, as he and Amelia, followed by Ethel 
and John, walked down the Kennington Road, lay under no ban 
in his cousin's eyes. She found herself again and again speak- 
ing without patronage. He, on the other hand, was discovering 
the charm of untrammelled speech with a young and attentive 
woman. It is encumbent upon us to acknowledge the genius 
of the Brown family, for they had succeeded, for a time at least, 
in banishing the look of suspicion and fear that had always 
sprung into the boy's eyes at his mother's mention of thenu It 
had an intricate origin, that look, for it was bom of an instinct 
that told him in quiet hours that their way led far from his, but 
it had become merged into the more superficial " pride " which 
was the bane of his mother's life. This dispersion could not 
have been entirely effected by artifice or even genuine lack of 
pride; the secret lay in the fact, hardly manifest to Amelia her- 
self yet, that she was interested in him. 

" I shouldn't like any one'bdongin' to me to follow the sea," 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 255 

she told him^ after thej had discussed his visit to the Cygnet 
and he had tried to convey to her the strange charm of looking 
up at those vast spars and dizzy topmasts, the unique personality 
of a ship^ and her mute message from the great Beyond. " An' 
the figger-'ead, it's an angel^ 'oldin' one 'and to 'er breast and 
pointin' upwards like with the other. An' all gilt Hiram Gay- 
nor says she dips right in sometimes when it's a storm." He 
had tried, but without much success. Ships and the sea had to 
come across the theatre footlights to make any impression on 
Amelia. Her mind was like the old-fashioned cameras; the 
image appeared on the ground-glass screen upside down, and it 
needed the condensing lens of dramatic art to make any per- 
manent impression at all. He had grasped his coat and pointed 
"upwards-like" with the other to show her what he meant, 
and she had smiled and drawn down the corners of her mouth 
in a way he came to know well, and looked round to see if any 
one had noticed his theatrical pose. Had he been on the stage 
she would have thrilled at the gesture and called it splendid. 
In the Kennington Road it was " silly." 

" Don't ! " she had muttered, and a flash of the old suspicion 
had darted across his face, only to vanish when she smiled. 
" Whv," he said, following her glance round. ** Where's Ethel 
an' John?" 

" Somewhere along," she answered, as though the matter were 
of trivial interest. *' We'll see them at the tiheatre ; John's got 
the tickets." 

When they reached the theatre and were working into the 
crowd that moved about in front of the main entrance, Hannibal 
found himself pressed up against his cousin, and it was the 
most natural thing for him to put his arm across her back and 
steer her along in front of him. She looked up at him once or 
twice, her lower lip between her teeth, and they exchanged 
glances and trivial remarks. 

" It's always a crush on Saturday nights." 

"Yes, s'pose so. Don't worry; I'll look after you." 

" We'll have to wait here for John. This is the upper circle 
staircase." 

"Right; where is 'e?" 

" There he is." 

John appeared forging through the crowd, alone. 

"Where's Ethel?" 



256 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" We met Arthur^ so I gave 'em the tickets an' came on/' said 
the young mechanic. "They're gassin' about some'ink. Here 
y'are." 

" John, you know father's pretty easy, but he draws the line 
at Arthur," said Amelia as they went up. " And I must say I 
agree with him too. If he had any idea " 

*' Oh, rats, my, it's all off in five minutes." 

" I know that. I'm not afraid of her doing anything so silly 
as that. What I mean is, I know and you know that Arthur's 
nothing more nor less than a bookie. That's what I'm so afraid 
o' father hearin'." 

" Only now and again." 

" No, it isn't now and again. I see him myself in the Ken- 
nington Road loitering round the gates, day after day. I 
wouldn't give much for his neck if father catches him with Ethel. 
You know how down he is on that sort of thing." 

John did know, and winced. Hannibal listened to this little 
passage of arms with a deep interest. It is significant of the 
amorphous morality of our times that he should have grown up 
tolerant of betting and distrustful of theatres while the Brown 
family took theatres as a babe takes milk and held betting to 
be one of the seven deadly sins. For this latter sentiment is 
a natural outcome of their theory of life. They hold their posi- 
tions by virtue of their capacity for industry and commerce, and 
by some instinct implanted in them in bygone ages they know 
the gambler and all his works to be their foe. There is no 
religious feeling in the matter, it is a plain strong morality 
fashioned to suit their temperament and condition. Ethel and 
Jolm were young and had not yet arrived at full conviction. 
They played with fire, but played knowing as well as Amelia 
or Mr. Brown that it wat fire; they never tried to palliate the 
offence. 

To Hannibal the question took a different form. His street 
life, in conjunction with his employment in the Repositories, 
following a childhood in which early editions and talk of horses 
and their form passed without criticism, had familiarised him 
with the idea of betting, and the bookie was a mere detail of 
daily experience. Beyond the mild dissipation of a Derby-sweep 
his conscience was clear, for his interest in sport was small. 
But Amelia's strong sentiments on the subject, her obvious 
opinion that such practices were bad and not respectable, led 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 257 

him to fear that he himself might have some diflScultj in appear- 
ing stainless before her. Tlie prevailing sentiment in Assembly 
Passage^ and even in Stepney Green^ was tliat a bookie, unless 
he were a welsher, was a hard-working citizen with rights like 
everybody else. If he made a bit now and then^ as no doubt 
he dld^ what of it? This view seemed to have no stability at 
all in the presence of Amelia's low-spoken denunciation of the 
wicked young Arthur. And with a sudden pang of wholesome 
shame Hannibal recalled the affair in Assembly Passage when 
he had evaded the blacksmith's attempts at capture. He 
coloured deeply as tliey passed into the theatre, and Amelia, 
catching sight of his face in a mirror, mistook the cause of it and 
fell to pondering upon the future. 




BIT of all right/' agreed Hannibal^ stepping back 
to the kerb of BiUiter Lane and surveying the 
ensemble. 

Yoa would scarcely have known him in his grey 
spring suit^ his oiled hair, his coloured shirt with the cuffs turned 
back, his preoccupied business-like air. Something of the paat 
lingered in the creased tie, the ill-fitting collar, and particularly 
in the boots. Boots are extraordinary things. When a man 
has raised himself in the world his boots are always the last to 
follow him up. He is never sure he will not slip back until his 
boots assume a permanent improvement. For one thing they 
are so expensive. Perhaps the use of trees has a good deal to 
do with it, and no one who has not gone through it can realise 
the tremendous difficulties of acquiring the tree-habit. With 
women, success — in boots — sometimes lingers until the daugh- 
ters are grown up, and dancing is an obligation. Small wonder 
then that Hannibal's best, nine months old and eight-and-eleven 
in the Cambridge Heath Road, should contrast poorly with the 
spring trousers and the oiled hair. 

He stood on the kerb oblivious of his boots, however, admir- 
ing the ensemble of Amelia's venture, which was to open next 
morning. Mr. Brown's incursion into shop-fitting had been 
recent but thorough, and he had taken a genuine pleasure in 
putting good work into his daughter's premises. The premises 
themselves, if plurals are not to be denied to a floor area of 
eleven feet by nine, had been provided with a sufficiency of 
shelves and electric lights (Gilfillan Filaments being specified by 
Amelia), a patent till and a rubber mat. Outside over the shop, 
Mr. Brown's sign specialist had had the pleasure of seeing a 
fancy of his own affixed: ground glass with red letters which 
were illumined at night 

Amelia, who was a hotbed of ideas, finally decided on a fancy 

name, " The Little Brown Boi^." Everything was mahogany 

in the shop, it was no larger than an ordinary shipping case, 

and her name was Brown. Again, it was customary, Amelia 

258 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 859 

knew^ for tobacco wholesalers to provide stock and fittings^ 
charging the returns until the balance was paid off. This she 
described rather tersely as robbery^ explaining to the scared 
Hannibal (in whose heart Assembly Passage still rankled) that 
by that method you could easily pay fifty pounds for ten pounds' 
worth of stuff. So the capable young woman^ who had not 
been in a shop in the Strand and another in Holbron for nothings 
ordered her stock for cash^ and thereby was enabled to provide 
her customers with what they wanted and not with what some 
wholesale firm wanted to get rid of. 

And now it was all ready^ window dressed^ lights in order> 
scales polished^ everything; and he stood on the kerb approving. 
Amelia came out and looked up at the sign. Then she looked 
at Hannibal^ biting her lip roguishly. It was growing dusk^ 
and she tripped inside again and pressed the switch that illum- 
ined the sign. Vanity! She joined Hannibal on the kerb^ and 
together they stared entranced at the words^ the red glowing 
sans-serif letters of the sign: 

THE LITTLE BROWN BOX 

"Think it'll take?" she said. 

Rather ! " he breathed. 

Worst of it is, it uses so much current/' she mused^ and 
then^ Vanity having had her tum^ Amelia ran inside and 
switched it off. 

"If we were on a street^ now^ I'd leave it on to-night as an 
advertisement^ but nobody ever comes down here at night ex- 
cept " She pulled herself up and entered the shop again. 

Hannibal thought it very delicate of her not to say " cleaners." 
Mrs. Gooderich would have stood any insults now, however^ 
for Hannibal seemed to have turned the comer and to be on 
the upward path of commerce, industry, and respectability. 
She gathered, moreover, from her son's remarks that he and 
Amelia were on no mere commercial footing, that he admired his 
cousin for her business acumen, her strong sense and activity. 

She is a manager," he told his mother. 

Oh, Hanny, suppose you got to like each other?" she had 
said, and he had replied, 

" So we do, old lady, but look at us. She's older'n me and 
she's the boss." 






«« 



260 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"That wouldn't make any difference/' she said^ trembling. 

Hannibal thought it would. He stood in a curious position 
toward Amelia^ a position which her cleverness had managed 
to disguise* She had soon found that any hint of patronage 
on her part roused the latent fear in his eyes^ and she had 
adopted a blend of sisterly autliority and business brusqueness 
that enabled him to find his way among his own feelings and 
sort them out^ so to speak^ while the coarser adjustments of 
human intercourse were being made. This was cleverness^ for 
Hannibal's nature was really very delicately balanced. By 
virtue of that gift of his for seeing things in three dimensions 
instead of flat outlines and absurd silhouettes^ it was necessary 
to be most circumspect in dealing with him. If Amelia had not 
felt her own weakness towards him^ her downright criticism and 
tuition would have scared him away. This was not desirable, 
since an alien assistant would have been expensive. 

Moreover, she liked him. 

Hannibal did not discover this all at once. He might not have 
discovered it at all if she had not helped him. As, for instance. 

They had been busy opening the cases of tobacco and cigars, 
Hannibal solemnly assisting with a brand new claw-hammer, 
while Amelia ticked off the items on a long advice-note which 
had come by post. It was all depressingly methodical and 
business-like, and Hannibal, festooned with straw, was reminded 
of the Repositories and felt the tentacles of Commercialism clos- 
ing around him. He looked tlirough the window; even Billiter 
Lane was flooded with spring sunshine. Across the way a 
steamship company exhibited a picture of a great liner at anchor 
in some tropical port of the Far East, the white hull surrounded 
by boats full of naked brown men, the blue sea rimmed by 
mountains of a deeper blue and crowned by a violet sky. To 
see " strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships ! 
... He woke suddenly. Amelia was calling out " What next? 
Soberly he held up a canister. 

" Shag seven pounds," she ticked. " That goes into the jars. 
We'll sell more of that than anything else. I don't know how 
it is. You never see men smokin' shag, but that's the stuff that 
goes quickest." 

Briskly the work went on, Hannibal stealing a glance now 
and then at the picture of the ship and wondering. Hiram 
would be out that way now; he had been bound for Singapore. 



»» 
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CASUALS OF THE SEA 261 

Singapore! The name haunted him. Was that it in the dis- 
tance on that picture^ that blur of gilt and white far down the 
harbour. Billlter Lane! Singapore! 

"That's the lot!" came Amelia's voice into his dreaming. 
** Wellj Hanny, if we sell all that in a week^ we'll be rich^ won't 
we?** 

"We?'* he said vaguely. "We? It's yours, ain't it? I'm 
only the shopman." 

He turned that full swimming brown eye upon her and she 
quivered and laughed nervously. 

" Don't be silly." 

" It's a fact. Ten shillin' a week," he persisted. 

** And a commission," she corrected. 

" But it ain't ' we,' for aU that." 

" It may be. It might be better to be partners, p'raps," she 
whispered, making little dents on the advice-note with her pencil. 

So far had they attained when he had stepped to the kerb 
to see the effect of the ensemble. So far that he neglected to 
glance again at the picture of the steamer. The Little Brown 
Box was now all swept and garnished; all the debris had been 
put into the largest case and stored under the counter. They 
gave it one last look round before Amelia shut the door, drew 
the lattice gate across and double locked it, giving Hannibal 
one of the keys. 

" Youll want a ring," she said, and then stood, thunder-struck 
at her own madness. " For the keys, I mean," she added, 
smiling. 

Not for you?" he countered, shaking the steel gate. 
Oh, go on ! " 

It was plain sailing after that. The fact thnt he had only a 
few shillings of his own worried him at first, but the sisterly 
manner that Amelia cultivated prevented him feeling hurt when 
she paid for their tea. After all, he had been working nearly 
a fortnight and so far had had no wages. His reluctance to 
" take hold," as Mrs. Gaynor phrased it, to be really business- 
like and alert, was in her favour. " You are a manager ! " he 
said to her as to his mother. And I think that very defect of 
his was one of the reasons that Amelia liked him. His frank 
admiration of the speed and skill with which she stocked her 
show-cases and glass window-shelves was sweet as civet to her 
hardy spirit 






262 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"I'll be down at nine sharp in the morning/' she told him as 
they stood near Aldgatc Piunp. *' I don't suppose there'll be 
any customers for the first few minutes. I've a good mind to 
send circulars round, after all father said/' she mused. '* A 
neat little folder, p'raps. Lamport and Gooling had a very 
nice one, I remember. It was like a smoker's cabinet and 
opened, you see, and inside were the prices and all particulars. 
I wonder if I could have something like that?" 

Love is a subordinated passion in the Browns, remember! 
Amelia's hand was in her cousin's as she made these reflections, 
and it was no use expecting Hannibal to get these ideas. She 
would have to do it. And moreover she liked it. She had 
imagination and saw her Little Brown Box thriving and throw- 
ing off otlier Brown Boxes until London was studded with them. 
Another idea seized her as she stood tliere saying good-bye, the 
idea of using flowers to decorate the Brown Box. Would the 
scent of tGJ)acco kill them? Hannibal didn't know. Then she 
must ask Ethel. Ethel, who had been at a florist's in Knights- 
bridge, would know. 

"It's a job to keep up with you/' he laughed. "All these 
ideas ! " 

" You see/' she explained pleasantly, " what you want to be 
always on the watch for is something that'll make people come 
in again, something to remember you by. I forgot to tell you 
never to say * Don't keep it/ It don't matter what it is, if we 
haven't got it, we must get it before they come in again. That's 
what a man likes. Perhaps he won't come in for a fortnight; 
doesn't matter. I remember a gentleman comin' into Lamport 
and Cooling's in the Strand, and asking for Capstan Full 
Strength. Nobody ever used to smoke it then. He didn't come 
in again for a month, ai\d then he asked for cigarettes. Wlien 
I told him I had his Full Strength, he ica$ pleased! And he 
came in often after that." 
I see/' said Hannibal. 

Now people like flowers and they're very cheap, with all 
these girls about the city. So I'll see what Ethel says." 

She left film with a cheery wave of the hand, her underlip in 
her teeth, and Hannibal took his way eastward meditating on 
his good fortune. It speaks loudly for the unreasonableness of 
his character that he should be unconvinced and sombre on this 
evening previous to the great event. She had signified xmmifl- 



<« 
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CASUALS OF THE SEA 263 

takably that she was not indiiTerent to him. Was he grateful ? 
Surely he should be^ when she had taken hun up like this, made 
him smart and useful and self-respecting. Surely this was 
better than Assembly Passage, eh? his conscience almost 
screamed at him. Eh, what? Going to sea? Yes, better than 
going to sea, too. Hiram? H'm! Hiram didn't tell the whole 
story. What about fevers and insects and salt pork? What 
about scurvy and frost and blinding snow? Eh? Hiram in- 
deed! 

So his conscience, pecking here and there from his memory 
of maternal and avuncular oratory, answered and overwhelmed 
him. 

** I see I'm in for it," he remarked to himself. ." And I s'pose 
it might be worse." 

I do not think his mind carried him as far forward as marriage. 
Indeed, his mind never carried him in that direction at all; all 
his excursions were made unhampered by time and locality. 
The most trivial little thing was sufficient to set him off, as that 
shipping poster had carried him to Singapore and the unchang- 
ing East. What ineffable happiness! To wander among 
strange peoples and palm trees! Palm trees, and white min- 
aretted ishrines, surf-torn beaches and blud mountains ! 

As he strode eastward toward Jubilee Street he thought again 
of these things. He figured Hiram on his ship with her great 
bellying sails driving through the deep dark blue waters of the 
ocean, Hiram lying in his narrow bimk in that tiny cabin by 
the mast, ** rocked in the cradle of the deep." He figured him 
away ashore in one of those wonderful dream-cities, buying 
strange shells and boxes, seeing astonishing sights, living every 
moment to the full. And then he tried feebly to look forward 
along his own track, the humdrum beaten track Amelia was 
pointing out to him. 

Some one bumped into him and he awoke with a sigh. The 
roar of the great London artery was all around him, the noise 
and the glare of the shops, the clatter of hoofs, and the ringing 
of bells. Hoarse voices cried their wares from barrow and 
stand, boys darted to and fro in play, sweethearts loitered arm- 
in-arm before the windows, mothers with their children trailed 
in and out. The life of the millions seethed and bubbled around 
him, leaving him solitary and sad. Once or twice during the 
last fortnight it had come to him in a fugitive way that he lacked 



264 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

character. Why did he feel so helpless before Amelia's resist- 
less energy and capable knowledge of the world ? She was only 
twenty or so^ yet he was as a child in her hands. Why was he 
always wandering from the point, dreaming of far-away^ seeing 
himself in extraordinary and fantastic regions? Was he an 
idiot? Was he predestined to fail in this great roaring world 
into which fate had pitched him? He wondered. 

He was silent at supper that nighty his mother failing to elicit 
more than monosyllables. Anxiously^ after the fashion of 
mothers^ she supplied his wants^ for your dreamy unpractical 
youth is as ravenous as any one^ in spite of the food of dreams 
on which he feeds in secret. 

Everything all right, Hanny ? '* she asked him. 
Yes, I s'pose so, old lady," he mumbled. 

Later she bent over him as he slept, after the foolish fashion 
of her kind, trembling, yet with an unwonted gladness in her 
eyes. To launch one frail craft safely, to see him on his way 
secure and ballasted with gold. . . . What happiness! After 
long grief and pain, after tragic failure and the bitter bread of 
indigence and neglect, to sink back and sigh "nunc dimittis." 
Could it be ? 

She knelt down and prayed incoherently to God that it might 
be so. 



*4 



VI 

IT was a custom in the Brown family to have occasional re- 
unions in their house off the Kennington Road. For Mrs. 
Brown^ of course^ it had of late become out of the question, 
but the young people kept it up. Tom-tom, of course, was 
engaged, and to a very nice girl too, who was in an office, in the 
City, and helped him in his book-keeping. John's steady flame 
burned before a pale young lady, " very refined," in black, whose 
people had had losses. Ethel, not to be outdone at these gather- 
ings, would hastily select from among her loves a presentable 
specimen (not necessarily engaged, but eligible), and bring him to 
her father as '* Friend o' mine, dad." 
And Amelia brought in Hamiibal. 

Mr. Brown brought in a battalion of old friends on his own 
account, and all these people, shovelled together and wedged 
in the neat villa, were very bewildering to HannibaL But the 
Browns enjoyed it. They had, to its fullest range, that glorious 
gift of enjoying vulgar pleasures. The apple of their content 
was not caidLcred by the worm of culture and fastidiousness. 
They ate their high tea, passing each other salt and bread and 
great trenchers of provender; they stood up and made silly, 
laughable speeches while they cut a pie and pulled a cork; 
they joked in a quite impossible way about affairs of the heart; 
they sang comic songs that were not comic, and love-songs 
that reached to the depths of banality. They had a gramo- 
phone and used it, sometimes during the meal. They had mando- 
lins, and Tom-tom went regularly every Monday and Thursday 
to learn the banjo. Ethel, that youthful Messalina of Ken- 
nington, played after a fashion on the piano, by which I mean 
she vamped, and having a good ear and a non-critical audience, 
she did better than many. Later on in their career they took up 
piano-players and the gramophone was put in the breakfast-room. 
For the Browns are the real supporters of progress in the Arts. 
They are always the first to take up tlie new idea. Who had 
incandescent mantles first? Neither you nor I; but the Browns 

bad them while we walked in darkness. Who first discarded the 

266 



M6 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

old musical-box and bought the gramophone? Who seised the 
safety bicycle and made it their own? Who listens to the voice 
of the inventor crying in the wilderness? Not the cultured and 
leisured ones of the land^ not the literary and scientific^ but the 
Browns^ the Cerebos of the earth. They are the people who read 
the advertisements. 

The subject of the hour when Hannibal first attended one of 
these functions was dancing. John was taking lessons and was 
very serious about it^ by which I mean he was "taking hold'* 
and studying the subject. Ethel seemed always able to hop 
about, and quite surprised them all by stating her intention of 
" taking it up." 

" Why, I thought you knew all about it," said her father, carv- 
ing cold beef. Ethel smiled in a superior way. 

" Oh, I've only picked it up, dad. Lessons are diflTerent." 

She took it up, dropped it, took it up again, and then, in 
consequence of a disappointment (the young man going to 
Honolulu without warning), abandoned duicing for professional 
rinking, which rolled her, almost before she was aware of it, into 
the arms of a husband. 

Hannibal sat amid the clatter of knives and forks and the 
babel of the reunion ill at ease. Here was another of his de- 
fects being painfully shown up. When Amelia asked him if he 
could dance, he shook his head mournfully. 

" Then you must learn," she informed him. What a girl she 
was for ideas! He hadn't thought of that. The same with 
cards. After tea he sat beside her, cards in hand, trying to 
keep his attention on the game. If you can't do a thing, take 
hold and learn. How efficient they all were ! Even Mr. Brown 
was winning a whole heap of wax vestas at whist. Later they 
began singing. Tom-tom led off with " Sing me to sleep," ac- 
companied by John's sweetheart, all joining in the chorus. 
By this time Mr. Brown and his senior friends were sitting over 
cigars and whisky in the dining-room, leaving the youngsters to 
themselves and their love-making in the drawing-room. For the 
Browns had no pride and no false shame in making love under 
three incandescent mantles. They kissed each other, and sat 
on each other's knees in a most refreshingly frank fashion, and 
when John trod on Amelia's skirt and brought it down, there was 
a roar of merriment and every one helped to fix it up again. 
And then when Ethel was forced on to the piano stool and they 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 267 

began whirling round to the measure of a waltz^ Hannibal found 
himself seized. 

"Come on^ I'll show you/' said a laughing voice in his ear; 
and before he was aware of it he was holding Amelia's waist and 
watching John's agile feet in an endeavour to glide. He was 
terribly self-conscious and awkward^ but to the Browns self- 
consciousness while learning to do anything was a forgotten 
myth. All they demanded of you was that you should try^ and 
be good-tempered. " Keep on your toes^" commanded Amelia^ 
doing her best to avoid shipwreck against the comer of the piano. 
If she had added^ " And keep off mine/' the advice would not 
have been out of place. 

At length the " dreamy '* waltz tune was shut off in the 
middle of the bar in the irritating way amateur musicians have^ 
and the sliding molecules of humanity stopped and broke away 
with laughter and gasps for breath. 

" Do you like it? " asked Amelia^ readjusting a hairpin. Her 
cheeks were flushed^ and when she showed her even teeth she 
looked almost pretty. Hannibal felt to see if his tie was up at 
the back^ and then laughed. 

" Don't know if I'll ever be much good at it/' he replied. 
" I never went in for that sort o* thing much." 

"But you wiU.i^" 

" Why — I s'pose so." 

A shadow crossed Amelia's face as she looked at him. She 
liked him; he seemed all right in the Little Brown Boz^ and he 
looked a very desirable young man as he stood there, his face 
flushed and his attractive brown eyes smiling at her. But she 
did not like this streak of ineffectiveness, this lack of "go." 
To her it was silly for a man to be reluctant when you showed 
him the way. She looked over to where Jolm was explaining 
to Ethel and Tom-tom the intricacies of his last lesson. Wild 
horses, Red Indians, all Hell would not stop John in his pursuit 
of the art of dancing now he had taken it up. But Hannibal 
did not seem interested. 

It was quite true that he was doing pretty well at the Little 
Brown Box. Each morning he opened the collapsible gate and 
pulled up the brown blinds, each evening he lowered those same 
blinds and locked the gate. He was slowly acquiring familiarity 
with the stock, and had even made one or two ventures in the 
direction of "patter/' that light conversation which many cus- 



268 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

tomers ignore when it is offered^ jet miss when it is denied them. 
To Amelia it came as natarally as breathing. Comments on the 
weather came pattering from her lips as pearls fell from the lips 
of the lady in the fairy story. As for Hannibal^ if his remarks 
had been frogs they could not have been more difficult to bring 
up. People seemed to answer Amelia^ giving her an opening, so 
to speak. She would say^ " Looks as if it was clearing, doesn't 
it? " and the customer would laugh grimly and say he hoped so, 
but was not going to put his money on London weather. If it 
were gloriously fine^ she would suggest it was a good day to 
change a sovereign^ and the customer would cackle with amuse- 
ment and ask her what she did with herself during tlie long 
evenings. But if Hannibal^ after severe thought, alluded to the 
fineness of the day, the customer would either ignore him alto- 
gether or point out with biting politeness a shortage in the change 
which Hannibal was tendering. 
He began to hate the weather. 

Eventually, however, Amelia contented herself with a daily 
visit to let him go and get his dinner. They got on very well 
when they were by themselves. It was in the company of the 
Browns and their kindred that she found something lacking in 
his spirit. When they were alone, I think she rather preferred 
his quietness and the little affectionate way he had of touching 
her cheek with his finger, of settling her collarette under her 
jacket, and other habits that he practised but did not speak of. 
It is possible, though it seems madness to suggest it, that the 
Browns' scheme of existence had left one of tlie human instincts 
unprovided for, that the jolly, efficient, sociable Brown religion 
was at times a little trying even to its communicants, and that 
Amelia was unconsciously drawn to her cousin by reason of his 
deficiencies. Those flowers in the Little Brown Box led me to 
think there might be something in this view, those flowers and the 
canaries who sang high up among the cigar stock. Perhaps 
there was a streak of poetry in Amelia, a thin vein of gold in 
the quarts of her nature. The worst of the Browns is, that when 
they become aware of the vein of gold they turn it into money. 
The Little Brown Box was getting a name for its flowers and 
canaries. They brought custom and business was good. 

To Mrs. Gooderich tliere came one benefit of all this: she 
escaped from Amelia's bullying. It sounds harsh when written 
down, but no other word is to be found to express so justly the 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 269 

attitude of well-fed young women towards a dispirited widow 
who is cursed with pride. Attaining to a certain vague sym- 
pathy with Hannibal's nature she found her feelings altered 
towards his mother. She paid visits^ unknown to him^ to Jubilee 
Street. She met Mrs. Gaynor there once, and experienced that 
lady's soothing influence. It was at this time that she was made 
aware of her Cousin Minnie's presence in London. The details 
were meagre enough; she was in partnership wfth a French- 
woman in Ebury Street, in a dressmaking business. Enquiry 
from Ethel elicited the fact that Ebury Street was " all right, 
down Chelsea way, penny 'bus from the top of Sloane Street" 
But Amelia was in no mood now to make up any scandal about 
her relatives. There was nothing to be got from Mrs. Gaynor 
anyway. She had the strangest way of hoping and believing 
Minnie was behaving respectably, and if she was, Mrs. Gaynor 
said, what were you going to do about it.^ Being a Brown, this 
was a little bewildering to Amelia, but she rested content with the 
facts. 

And Hannibal behind the counter — what of him? We have 
seen him at the reunion, a rather unadaptable youth bewildered 
with novel ideas of amusement, abashed equally before the giddy 
Ethel and John's refined young lady. He was not " at his best " 
at the reunion. But beliind the counter, beneath the canaries and 
within sight of that picture of the steamer across the way, how 
did he fare, this inarticulate lad with his long thoughts? 

The fact is, he had formed another habit of which Amelia 
was not aware. Even chartering-clerks and water-clerks, to 
say nothing of shipowners hurrying to and from the Baltic, 
are not in continual need of tobacco and cigars, and Hannibal 
had periods of inaction when the shop was deserted. He could 
not smoke continually (Amelia discouraged smoking behind the 
counter, anyway), and he fell into the newspaper habit. It 
gave him subjects for conversation, if a customer were not in a 
hurry. But the newspaper, admittedly a great and glorious 
institution, has its lunitations. The Literary Year Book tells 
me it is prhnanly for the dissemination of news, and I am willing 
to believe it, though I find a good many advertisements. Hanni- 
bal's paper, for example, which cost him a halfpenny, devoted 
the front page to a New Corset The back page was occupied 
by a " heart to heart talk " by the write-up expert attached to 
Gilfillan Filaments Limited. It was called ''Darkest London 



270 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

and the Way Out," and the new form of filament now offered 
modestly described as The Light of the World. Opening the 
journal, you found inside still more appeals to your better nature 
by the retailers of Cocoa and Whisky firms. You found elixirs 
which reduced your fat, secrets which increased your fat, ** home 
treatments ** which, if you were a lady, would develop your bust 
until you resembled a pouter pigeon. Illustrations were pro- 
vided to show you the gradual inflation. It may add to your 
opinion of Mrs. Gooderich to know that Hannibal did not care 
to loo^ at those illustrations; they seemed to him unpleasant. If 
you were a man and su/Tered excruciating agony in your spine, as 
per illustration of a pain-racked Laocoon, you were informed 
that you had only yourself to blame, since Elixerine was just 
two-and-ninepence a bottle and every chemist kept it Furnish- 
ing firms pleaded with you to avoid wrecking your happiness and 
Her's by senseless delay. Home ! Was it not the sweetest word 
in our noble English tongue? Had you no duty to the Mother- 
land, to Love, to your unborn children? Were they to come into 
the w:orld and find you — married, no doubt — but without tliat 
exquisite drawing-room suite at six shillings down and the bal- 
ance at threepence a week? Hannibal became quite disturbed 
when he read some of these, but they were pastiche compared 
with the shrieks arising from the columns where the unguents 
" distilled from rare herbs indigenous to the Upper Himalayas " 
were described. " I was a mass of scabs," reported a lady in 
high society; and did not seem a bit ashamed of it either, for 
there was her portrait, with jewels and scabs complete. Hanni- 
bal's notions of high society were confused enough, but he tiiought 
J" it was a case for a 'orspital " when one's face got as bad as 
that. 

Eventually his wandering mind was caught by an item of 
news hidden away in the middle of the paper, far from the 
madding crowd's ignoble strife, a brief report of a fire in China, 
where a couple of himdred thousand had been driven from 
their homes by the flames. His imagination was caught by the 
news; he tried to figure to himself all those terrified yellow 
men and women battling with the fire, the roar as the wind blew 
it onward, tlie cries of the dying, the desolation of the smoking 
ruins. He wished there was more about it, but somehow the 
newspaper had no room for any more. There was a most elo- 
quent article just below — over half a column — giving the circu- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 271 

lation figures of the paper for the previous month. There he 
saw another paragraph stating that a sailing ship had heen lost 
with all hands off Cape Horn^ and Hannibal's thoughts went 
back to Hiram on the Cygnet, He would close his paper and 
put it away under the counter with a sigh. The agony of those 
yellow men^ that last fight with all-encompassing death in the 
storm^ these things seemed trivial indeed to the newspaper. Evi- 
dently people did not want to be told what was happening in 
the great world. They wanted to be told what to buy. 

He had an idea one day^ though this has nothing to do with 
the habit. Amelia came in with her usual briskness^ and after 
smiling a greeting she stood looking round critically at the 
counter-dressing, considering improvements. 

" Go<5dness me ! What's that ? " she exclaimed, as a faint 
squeal reached her ears. Hannibal grinned and beckoned her to 
come round. She came round quickly and stopped short at the 
sight. A small grey kitten was trying valiantly to climb up his 
leg, a tiny atom of a thing, with a pointed tail and scared eyes. 

Amelia did not like cats, and she was about to say so sharply 
when something in his attitude as he stooped and took the little 
thing in his arms made her pause. His face was apologetic, 
yet 

" Thought it 'Id be company," he muttered. " They . was 
goin' to drown it, so I fetched it up." 

" Nasty little things," she muttered. " I can't bear 'em." 

The kitten clambered up on his shoulder, and erecting the 
pointed tail seemed well pleased. 

** Mind you don't leave the canaries down on the floor then 
when you clean the cage," she warned him. 

" That's all right. Amy. You don't mind me 'avin* it? " 

"If you really want it, only we don't want a menagerie in 
the shop, do we ? " 

" No. Only time 'angs a bit in the mornin's, you see." 

" You ought to follow the news. Keep up with the times." 

" So I do, but there's notliin' in the paper 'cept advertise- 
ments." 

"Well, why not get a book out of the libr'y? It passes the 
time." 

" That's a good idea ! " he remarked, stroking the kitten. 
" There's an ol' book-shop in Aldgit I pass every momin'. 
There's all sorts in the tuppeny box. I'll 'ave a look at 'em." 



272 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" You don't want to buy books ! " she nearly screamed. There 
are some things the Browns of this world cannot and will not 
standy and spending money on books is one of them. Baying a 
book is with them a sign of a mind unhinged. 

" Now an' again^" he suggested, cowed. " They're only tup- 
pence." 

And that was how he contracted the habit which led to 
quaintance with Mr. Brober. 



VII 

IT was he who spoke first as Hannibal shyly took np book 
after book m the twopenny box and scanned the pages for 
something that might interest him. The twopenny box did 
not seem to contain much of that sort. In fact^ whatever 
the authors of those books had aimed to accomplish^ it was not to 
thrill the reader. 

" Student? " enquired Mr. Brober^ a black briar in his mouth. 
He was an elderly unclean man^ in an old frock coat and a golf 
cap of uncertain shape, and his shoulders were bent as he ac- 
costed Hannibal. 

The young man put the book down nervously and laughed. 

"Me? No, Mister." 

He might have been, thought Mr. Grober, looking him over. 
He often had poor students at his shop, dressed in shabby suits 
and amorphous boots. For Hannibal's new spring suit, fol- 
lowing the eternal law of spring suits selling ready-made at 
twenty-seven shillings (vide advertisement twice a week in Han- 
nibal's halfpenny paper), was now, after six months' wear, de- 
crepit, without form and void of symmetry. 

" I was going to say," continued Mr. Grober, " that if you 
were, I have a stock of text-books inside at extremely low prices. 
Come in." 

" I was only lookin' fer something to read," explained Hanni- 
bal apologetically, as though such a motive were unheard of 
by a bookseller. And he followed the old man into the gloom 
of his shop. 

" Here they are," said Mr. Grober, indicating several shelves 
of thin books with gilt letters on the backs. Classics, Mathematics, 
and Science. 

Hannibal shook his head. 

'' No use to me," he assured the old gentleman. *' I've got 
no 'ead for that stuff." 

''Then what?" asked Mr. Grober, sitting down in his chair 
again. " What is the sort of work you require? " 

" Work? " echoed Hannibal blankly. 



273 



274 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" I mean book/' Mr. Grober corrected. ** What sort of book 
do you require?" 

Hannibal gazed round helplessly at the dusty shelves. " Some- 
thing to read^" he replied. 

"Novels?" 

*' No^ not novels." Hannibal's notion of novels was confined 
to the formidably long romances his mother had been accus- 
tomed to read. ** Not novels." 

"What then? Books of travel or '' 

"Ah! Something about the sea. I s'pose you 'aven't any- 
thing like that — cheap ? " He waved his hands. 

This was the beginning of Hannibars induction to literature. 
For nearly an hour he sat in the dusty shop while Mr. Grober 
descanted upon the decline of taste in good literature. Many 
of his remarks fell upon empty air. It was evident that Mr. 
Grober only required an audience^ he took replies for granted. 
Eventually^ however^ he came round to the subject of immedi- 
ate interest to Hannibal. He directed attention to a box of 
paper-covered books and explained his system. When you had 
read it^ you brought it back to Mr. Grober in good condition^ 
and he gave you twopence for it. By this scheme you paid a 
penny only for a volume published at sixpence or a shilling. 
To Hannibal the scheme seemed admirably adapted to his needs, 
and begged Mr. Grober to select something for him. Re- 
lighting his black briar, Mr. Grober complied, laying out volume 
after volume. Many of them seemed to the lad to belong to 
that class of literature known to illiterate folk as " blue." There 
was Manon Lescaut, Mon Uncle Barbassou, Moll Flanders, Ma- 
dame Bovary, and those beautiful short stories with which Emile 
Zola lightened the sombre burden of his days. Then Hannibal's 
eye lighted upon An Iceland Fisherman, and he took it up. 

" It's about the sea," he said, and Mr. Grober nodded. 

"One of the most exquisite idylls of the sea," he remarked. 
" I doubt if you will quite appreciate to the full the genius of 
Loti." 

" I think I'll take this for a start," said Hannibal, producing 
threepence. " I was thinkin' o' goin* to sea once," he con- 
fided. 

Mr. Grober was not interested in this. He was one of those 
men who can be reached by no other channel save that of litera- 
ture. He would have passed every fisherman from Dundee to 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 275 

Southwold without noticing they were fishennen^ but An Iceland 
Fisherman was literature, ergo he knew all about it. 

How shall we describe the boy's delight in the new world 
that now opened out before him? Ravenously he followed the 
fortunes of those French sailors in the stormy north seas, in 
the treacherous Channel and out in the burning East. Sometimes 
he would draw a long breath and look out long and earnestly at 
that steamer in the blue harbour, while the grey kitten climbed 
over him^ purring in his ear, and the canaries sang above him. 
And then, when the door opened and a customer came in, he 
would return to reality with a jump and pursue his business of 
selling tobacco. 

** It's all right, that," he told Mr. Grober when he brought 
it back. There was a slight crack in the cover which he feared 
had not improved the volume, but Mr. Grober did not notice it 
and motioned to him to pick out another. 

It was late, for he had been for a walk with Amelia, and 
near closing time, and Mr. Grober seemed taciturn and uneasy. 
As Hannibal turned round he saw the door at tlie back partly 
open and a sharp-featured woman peering out. The door closed 
abruptly as he turned. Mr. Grober followed him outside to 
bring in the boxes preparatory to shutting up. Hannibal, sens- 
ing Mr. Grober's desire to explain something, flung his thumb 
over his shoulder. 

" Old lady? " he asked in a low tone. Mr. Grober bowed his 
head over the threepenny box. 
The same," he said. 

I see," said Hannibal, though he saw nothing. 
The fact is," said Mr. Grober, straightening himself with 
the box on his hands. " The fact is, my young friend, that 
though many of our master minds have described Hell, and many 
of our great painters have endeavoured to represent it on canvas, 
not one of them has succeeded in portraying anytliing so ghastly 
as a square peg in a round hole ! " 

And Mr. Grober marched slowly into the shop and deposited 
the box on a chair. Hannibal stood waiting for further revela- 
tions, hoping they might be clearer than this one. When the old 
man emerged and bore down upon the twopenny box, he said : 

" 'Ow d' you mean. Mister? " 

" I mean," said Mr. Grober, " I mean that the torments of a 
Lost Soul are radiant bliss compared with the life of an Idealist 



«« 
« 



276 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

in a world of Stark Reality ! " And in he went, his old golf 
cap askew on his grey bead, his untidy head on his breast, a for- 
lorn and weary figure. 

" Whafs up, Mister? " enquired the youth when he reappeared 
to pull down the shutters. Mr. Grober grasped the pole and 
held it out at arm's length, looking sternly up the street. The 
few people who were passing took no notice of them. 

" Under your arm," remarked Mr. Grober, ** you have the 
story of a man who never married. Eventually be drowned him* 
self. He chose tlie better part." 

And pulling down his shutter with a jar and a bang, Mr. 
Grober re-entered his premises. 

Hannibal, ToiUn of the Sea safe in his pocket, went home in 
deep thought. To a certain extent he understood Mr. Grober's 
cryptic utterances to refer to domestic affairs. Things, he con- 
cluded, had gone wrong between 'em. Old chap was fed up, 
perhaps. She didn't look over good-tempered. He told his 
mother about it over his supper. 

" P'raps, he drinks," said Mrs. Gooderich. " What 'ave you 
got this time?" She looked through Victor Hugo's pages. 
What is it, a novel? " she asked. 

I reckon it's a story from the look of it," he returned, 
but not like that one you're readin'." And he pointed with 
his knife to where Mrs. Southworth's works lay among the 
things on a side-table. Mrs. Gooderich would not argue this 
point with a young man. One of the remnants which made up 
her ethical bundle was a disbelief in too much reading for chil- 
dren. Certainly her children had never indulged themselves in 
this vice. She regarded the book witli suspicion. About a man 
who never married, eh? And Mr. Grober said he chose the bet- 
ter part. What a difference between such books and Ishtnael, 
which was about a man who had two wives at once ! Of course, 
it was all a terrible mistake, and didn't he pay bitterly for it? 
But that was so true. We do pay for our mistakes, Mrs. Goode- 
rich thought. 

" He's a funny old chap," Hannibal went on. " He talks like 
a book." 

" I only *ope," said Mrs. Gooderich, " that 'e won't go puttin* 
ideas into your 'ead, that's all." 

It would be a grave offence, she thought, to put ideas into 
people's heads. 






VIII 

WHEN Amelia came briskly along Billiter Lane one 
evening in Maj^ she crossed over to t&e other side 
to obtain a good view of the Little Brown Box. 
Everything was in apple-pie order in the win- 
dow, she noted, the sign had been cleaned, the door-handles were 
bright, and her face expressed calm approvaL What a pity 
Hanny was such a stick to go out with ! He didn't seem to have 
any idea what to say to a girl. That reading habit of his seemed 
to be spoiling him. She stood a few moments watching, but 
there was no sign of him coming out to meet her. H'm ! Read- 
u>g> ^^^ likely, or playing with the kitten. She stepped across, 
opened the door, and found the place empty. 

For a moment she looked round helplessly, her brain stunned 
by the enormity of the thing. A canary trilled and twittered at 
her, but she took no notice. The kitten, asleep on the counter, 
stretched and curled up again. Amelia drew a quick breath, 
stepped behind the counter and took off her things. She hardly 
knew what to think. Had there been an accident? Had 
he • . • ? She darted to the till, unlocked it and counted fev- 
erishly. No, it seemed about as usuaL What then? Suddenly 
a figure passed the window, the door opened and Hannibal came 
in. Her face hardened. 

This the way you look after your work? " she asked. 
Just went out for some change, Amy," he replied, his 
eyes faltering as he glanced from the open till to her face. 
He came round and put some silver into the drawer. She looked 
at him coldly. 

"Why didn't you lock the door?" she asked. "The whole 
place might have been cleared out. How long have you been 
•way?" 

*• Only a minute." 

"I've been here five," she said, and a curious look came 

over her face. " We'd better have it out now or we'll get into 

• bad way." she went on. 

277 



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€€ 



278 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" I can seen who comes in from — from the other place/* 
he said sullenly. 

"What other place?" 

** The pub down — on the other side," he said. 

"Oh, you get change at the pub, do you? What's the mat- 
ter with the bank? I thought we'd arranged all that. You've 
got all the change you need there, as far as I can see." 

** Oh, all right, all right," he muttered. 

"It isn't all right, all right," she retorted. "This shop's 
mine, and I can't afford to have it left alone, that's all." 

" Anybody 'd think I was out all the time," he complained. 

" As you will be if nobody says anything." She turned away 
with a gesture of vexation. " I was comin' up to ask you to 
come over to supper this evenin', and — and this spoils it all." 
She finished with a break in her voice. Hannibal was silent, 
shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. 

" It won't 'appen agen," he said at length. 

"How do I know?" she flung at him passionately. "I 
thought we were goin' to get on so well, too." 

He turned and put out his hand as though to touch her, 
but she moved away and his hand dropped Irresolutely. A 
customer came in and broke the spell, and Hannibal busied 
himself with the stock while Amelia served. When the man 
had gone out, she began again. 

" Promise me," she said, steadily. " Promise me you won't go 
into a pub again." 

" All right," he answered in a low voice. 

" Can't you see," she queried, " how important it is not to 
leave the shop for a minute? It's all for your own good, isn't 
it? If people come in . . . why the business'll drop right down 
if people come in and find nobody here ! " She looked at him 
wide-eyed. All the tradition of the Brown family was outraged 
by this terrible and unheard-of defection. Hannibal twisted 
uneasily under her gaze. 

" Yes, I know," he muttered. 

" I only hope," she said, " you're tellin' me the truth, and 
you didn't go to the pub for anything else. I don't like those 
places. They never did anybody any good yet." 

He was silent. 

" You haven't promised me, Hanny," she added gently. 

" All right," he said. " You know best, I s'pose." 



it 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 270 

" I do, that's a fact. Now, are you comin' down to Kenning 
ton?" 

Yes, I'll come. I was goin' down to get a book though." 
Well, it isn't far, is it.'' I'll come down with you." 

At seven o'clock they shut up the Little Brown Box and 
walked down Fenchurch Street towards Aldgate, joining the 
dense throng of homeward-bound toilers who were tempted 
by the summer feeling in the air to avoid the 'buses and wear 
out their shoe-leather instead. It is marvellous how difficult 
it is in London to get any pleasure without paying for it. 
Amelia looked at tlie girls who passed with interest. She knew 
them all well, knew what they worked at, how much they earned 
and how they lived. She was not above them just because 
she had a shop. No thought of superiority ever entered her 
head. If she had had "property," of course it would be dif- 
ferent. 

" These Sheenies ! " she said laughingly to Hannibal as a tall, 
stylishly-dressed Jewess passed them in her panoply of velvet 
and lace. " What a rig to work in ! " 

Hannibal started guiltily. He had been far away from Aid- 
gate just then. 
Ah," he said. 
I shall have to keep an eye on you," said his cousin archly, 

or perhaps you'll be keepin' company down here." 

" Not me," he asserted with vivid sincerity. " One's enough 
for me." 

" D'you mean it? *' she asked, not quite certain of his drift. 

He paused in front of Mr. Grober's faded shop. 

"This is it," he said. "I shan't be a minute." And he 
went in hastily. Amelia regarded the place with some disdain. 
A second-hand bookshop was not much in her line. Hannibal 
had explained how he got his books for a penny each, and she 
had expressed a hope that there was no danger in them. " Yon 
never know where they've been," she remarked. 

Mr. Grober was glad to have a visitor. He ofiTered Hannibal 
a battered and ill-printed copy of The Flying Dutchman and 
begged him to take a seat. 

" I can't. I got a little friend waitin' outside," he explained. 

Mr. Grober was visibly depressed. He had hoped, he said, 
that Hannibal would have a chat and possibly some refresh- 
ment 






280 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Not now/' said the young man hastily, looking through 
the shelyes at Amelia. Mr. Grober looked also. 

" Ah," he remarked. '' A counter-attraction, I see." 

" Some other time/' said Hannibal, moving off. " Goo' night, 
Mr. Grober." 

"Good night, and heaven help yon/' said the old gentle- 
man, watching Amelia from behind the books. He came to 
the door, and when she looked in his direction bowed in an 
old-fashioned way. But Amelia did not include Mr. Grober 
among her charities. He was dirty and untidy, and he looked 
incompetent, her critical glance told her. She moved off quickly 
with her cousin. 

" You aren't taking up with that sort of people, are you? " 
she asked coldly. 

" Me? Oh, I have a chat now and then/' said Hannibal, try- 
ing to be unconcerned. 

" Well, I shouldn't if I was you. At least it's this way: We 
can't afford to be friends with such people. They always want 
something, generally money." 

" He don't want anything/' remonstrated HannibaL 

" I'm only tellin' you. He looks as if he could do with some^ 
anyhow. I hate these untidy people. Let's take a 'bus." 

When they were on the 'bus, she began again. She took pos- 
session of his mind, stowing away axiom after axiom, fact after 
fact, until he was bewildered and sullen. She felt that she 
must lose no time in formally educating him up to the Brown 
standard. 

"If people aren't gettin' on, they're slippin' back/' she told 
him. " They can't sUnd stilL And if they're slippin' back it's 
best to keep away — you can't do anything." 

" Why not give 'em a 'and same as you did me? " he asked. 

She folded her hands on her purse and looked steadily ahead 
towards the Surrey side. 

" Relations are different/' she observed, and thereby handed 
him another piece of family philosophy. " That old fellow 
has never done himself any good and he's not likely to do you 
any. Keep yourself to yourself, except among those you know." 

" 'E's 'ad a very good education/' ventured Hannibal. 

" So I should say by the dirt behind his ears/' said Amelia. 
''I've seen his sort in the Strand, or something very like it. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 281 



« 
« 



They want tick^ these people with wonderful educations and long 
hair. Mind jou don't encourage him/' 

"All right, Amy. What's on to-night? '* 

'* I was goin' to tell you, only so many things put it out o' 
my head. Mother's comin' home from Bournemouth to-night 
and we're goin' to meet her. It's at eight-thirty at Victoria." 
Is she? " said Hannibal dubiously. 

Well, you don't seem very enthusiastic," complained the 
young lady. " Mother's very delicate, but she manages at home 
now the weather's warm. I suppose you hayen't seen her for 
a long while?" 

"Not since the funeral," he replied briefly. To Hannibal 
and his moUier there was but one funeral, and they had used 
the phrase to cover a number of things. " Since the funeral " 
meant since Minnie liad left them, since Maple Avenue had be- 
come a memory, since Bert had gone. 

" Well," said Amelia, " you'll see her now." To the Browns 
their mother's illness was not a tiling to joke about. If they 
had been poor they would have gone without the necessaries of 
life to get her wine and beef extract. They were a brilliant 
example of the family who owe nothing to their parent save their 
being, yet who worship her and revere her weakness as though 
she had sacrificed everything for them. 

"What's the matter with Aunt Eliza?" asked Hannibal, in 
the same tone as he would ask "What's the matter with the 
chimney?" if it smoked. 

" Kidneys," said Amelia in an awed voice. Neurasthenia had 
not been discovered then, and nervous disorders were located 
in the body by an unimaginative faculty. " She had breakdowns 
too. Doctor says that she mustn't exert herself at all. It's a 
great strain on her, this railway journey. Dad went down this 
morning to bring her up." 

" I expect she's forgotten all about me," Hannibal surmised. 

" I told her^ you know, when I wrote about the shop and all 
that" 

The conversation dwindled, and Hannibal found himself faced 
by the problem which had been growing and growmg in his 
mind for some time. It was a curious problem for a young man 
of reflective mood to find before him, like a black cloud which 
he could not elude, being none other than this: " What am I 



282 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

doing? " To such clarity of vision had he arrived by this time^ 
aided undoubtedly by the books he had been absorbing day by 
day. For^ unlettered as he was^ unskilled in the fine analysis 
of motive and feelings he saw plainly enough that the difference 
between himself and these men in the books was simply they 
were doing somethings while he was dreaming his life away 
amid cousins^ canaries^ and cigarettes. The thought grew and 
grew within him, and his eyes became less and less observant 
of the material world. It was an intensely interesting question 
for a young man, for he was aware in a dim fashion that, if he 
liked, he could batter down the walls of the prison, he could 
struggle out into the fresh air and join those heroic souls who 
do things in the world. 

He was unfortunate perhaps in this, that Amelia had none 
of the fine, careless admiration for courage which had been so 
fashionable among young women a few years ago, when the 
war-spirit was upon the nation. It died away, if you remember, 
afterwards, a wave of religious and social uplifting swept 
across the land, knights in shining armour were seen no more, 
khaki-clad bank-clerks went again into the black livery of their 
calling, and the army lost its prestige among women. Amelia 
was a very accurate reflection of her class. Had she been 
touched with that lust for romance which was, we are told, 
inseparable from mediaeval womanhood, she might have given 
Hannibal the necessary impetus to perform some deed of dar- 
ing. This, however, was not to be. Amelia was a child of 
her time, a time of peace and music-halls, of social reform and 
municipal enterprise. To her, as to all the other girls of that 
period, courage and high endeavour, romance and beauty, were 
not to be found in life but on the stage and cinema-film. 
Hannibal felt this, and gave no sign of the difficulty that con- 
fronted him. She would have looked at him blankly at first, 
and then the comers of her mouth would have come down 
in contempt. To her a craving for a fuller life would have 
meant simply an excuse to get out of working. Her world 
was littered with people who dodged or tried to dodge their 
natural destiny — labour. She classed Mr. Grober with diene. 
For, strange to say, running a tobacconist's was work, but a 
second-hand bookshop was " mooching about." 

Their entry into the Brown homestead caused a diversion 
of their thought from matters purely personal to those of the 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 28S 

family. Ethel it was who^ in a white blouse with short sleeves 
and a narrow band of velvet round the throaty answered the 
door and gave them a ivide-welcoming smile. 

** Good old Amy, here at last ! " she said. *' Come along, 
Hanny, we're waiting for you. Father'll have a fit if we're 
late." 

They were all round the supper-table; John and bis young 
lady, Tom and his^ Ethel with a brand-new and extremely 
eligible looking young man in a tail-coat, who was in fact the 
laundry-manager who afterwards levanted to Honolulu. It was 
obvious that to them this home-coming of an invalid mother was 
an event of importance. Hannibal felt that if he could feel no 
interest in Mrs. Brown he could not possibly be one of the family. 
In some dejection he admitted to himself that his interest was nil. 
He regarded Ethel's new young man with envy. With all im- 
aginable ease the laundry-manager slid into the stream of con- 
versation, picking up the threads of past topics with dexterous 
precision, and receiving confidences in a way that showed un- 
mistakably the Browns were forgetting how recently he had 
joined their ranks. Hannibal demanded of himself with some 
bitterness why he could not do that, but without eliciting any 
clear reply. 

" I see you're one of the thoughtful sort," said Miss Sander- 
son, John's refined young lady, who sat next to Hannibal. She 
smiled indulgently at the bread her long fingers were crumbling, 
and looked at him kindly. He gave a sigh of relief and re- 
turned her gaze frankly. 

" It's only because I 'aven't anything to say," he told her In 
confidence. " Somehow I never do 'ave in company," and he 
sighed again. 

" Perhaps you think all the more/' she insisted, with another 
smile. 

" I'd'no," he said. ** I reckon if a chap thinks, he can spit 
it out, don't yon? If he thinks real, I mean." 

" How do you mean by real? " 

"Why, when a chap thinks o' something and then does it. 
*£'s got something to talk about then." 

" Why not do something then? " Miss Sanderson's eyes were 
smiling. She was enjoying herself with the yoimg man. 
How can I, selling fags ? " he asked simply. 
What do you want to do? " she queried 



« 



« 



284 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"That's just it/' he told her^ a far-away look in his eyes. 
*' That's just it I'm Wowed if I know." 

** But aren't you trying to get some idea? " 

" Oh^ I got millions of ideas^ but what's the use if you 'aven't 
got the dough? " 

John's got ideas by the thousand for patents/' she laughed. 

But I'm afraid he'll never get the dough, as you call it" 

" It's different witli 'im/' Hannibal mused in confidence to 
her. " He's got 'is dad. I daresay 'e'll put up the tin some day 
if John wants it. I feel a bit out of all this/' he added, as they 
rose from the table, "though I don't know why I should be 
tellin' you." 

" I'm interested/' she said, with a glance at once arch and 
sympathetic. *' You must tell me about some of those million 
of ideas." 

" What are you two flirting about ? " called Ethel, who was 
pinning on her hat in front of a mirror and could therefore 
see behind her. 

" You be quiet, Eth. Hanny and me are having a little chat 
all by ourselves." 

" John, you'll have to be careful/' said Tom, brushing his 
hat. " These young tobacco merchants, they know how to pick 
peaches without treadin' on the grass." 

The laugh that followed Tom's sally was shared by Miss 
Sanderson, but it did not prevent her joining Hannibal on the 
pavement when her own black straw was adjusted. She was, 
as I have hinted on a previous page, " very refined," and she 
was treated by the Browns as the daughters of Royal Dukes 
are treated by Society — with respect. She was permitted to 
do things another girl could not very well do; for example, 
appropriate Amelia's young man. If you feel astonishment at 
this in view of her family having had losses, I can only point 
out, in commiseration for your ignorance, the fact that, with 
the Browns, indigence after competence was a very different 
thing from indigence per #e. 'The Browns argued logically 
enough that to have had losses it is first necessary to have had 
something to lose. In this case Miss Sanderson's people had 
had property and had lost it in a perfectly respectable way. 
Miss Sanderson, then, was a bright angel fallen from the heaVen 
towards which the Browns were endeavouring to climb. About 
her there still hung a trace of the brightness of that sphere^ a 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 285 

faint perfume of gentility. You saw it in her walk, in the way 
she held her handkerchief to her nose, or the distinguished 
manner in which she sat back in her chair at table and crumbled 
her bread. She was, Uiough you might not know it, an acquisition 
to the Browns. She had ** style." Even Ethel knew that. 
Even Ethel knew her own pert mannerisms would not have de- 
ceived the manager of a fifth-rate musical-comedy troupe — they 
were pure Kennington, with an edging of Knightsbridge and 
Brompton. As I say, you might not know all this, but the 
Browns knew it, knew it so tiioroughly that the paltry em- 
broidery of words was unneeded. They felt :t in their bones. 
Miss Sanderson was superior. When she elected to walk with 
Hannibal they had nothing to say. Ladies like Miss Sanderson 
don't need watching like some people. 

That Hannibal felt the full weight of his good fortune may 
be doubted. He did not at that time feel the full weight of 
anything — until the weight had been removed. But he did 
feel with great keenness tlie immense difference between talking 
without effort to Miss Sanderson and trying to talk to Amelia 
about the things in his mind. Miss Sanderson was interested; 
she said so, and she made him feel she was. 

"Of course, when I say millions, you know what I mean," 
he began, as they hurried towards the 'bus. 

" You want something better than the tobacconist business ? " 
she asked. He looked round to calculate Amelia's distance. 

" Well, you see, I 'ardly like to say it to meself, but some'ow 
I do get full up with rt Got no business to be, I s'pose. My 
old lady ses I ought to be very thankful to 'ave such a com- 
fortable job. I dessay she's right, though it don't make me 
feel any different about it. An' yet I don't like to say any- 
things, see ? " 

" You mean seeing it's for Amy you don't like ... ? " 

•' That's it to a T," he replied. 

" Ask her," argued Miss Sanderson. 

" No," he whispered. " She wouldn't understand." 

Miss Sanderson laughed gently. 

"What is it you would like? Go for a soldier? Farming in 
the Colonies? (My brother's in New Zealand.) What is it?" 

" I don't reckon I'd care what it was if I could only see 
something. I been readin^ a good bit lately, and I feel all out 
of it. This shop-work's all right, if you don't want to see 



286 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



things. But It's Jubilee Street in the mornin', Billiter Lane 
all day, and Jubilee Street at night It's chronic." 

" I suppose you think you'd like a life of adventure." 

''You mean Buffalo Bill an' Sherlock 'OUnes? Not par- 
Ucularly." 

" Or a life on the ocean wave? " 

" Ah ! " Hannibal started a little as Miss Sanderson touched 
on this matter of the ocean wave. Out of his reading and 
much fugitive thought he had evolved a strange sea-world of 
his own, a world of tropic sunshine and white cities, blue water^ 
and anchored ships. 

"With a wife in every port?" went on Miss Sanderson, 
who had a reputation for prettiness in wit. Hannibal looked 
at her in alarm. She was dangerous, this long-necked young 
lady who had plighted her troth to the mechanical John. For 
it was true; he had dreamed of fairer women than he had ever 
seen, the quick heat of his adolescent mind had fashioned them 
dark and fair, pale and bronzed. But so sliadowy were they, so 
lightly did they play their amorous part In tliose dream ports 
of his mind that he recoiled from Miss Sanderson's smiling jest 
He coloured and was silent 

" I say, Lil," said John, catching tliem up. " Did you go 

and see " His voice died to a whisper, and Hannibal heard 

no more. The others came up and effected a redistribution of 
partners. Ethel, voluptuous with her thin revealing blouse and 
well-shaped hips, put her arm through Hannibal's and steered 
him toward the waiting 'bus. She was humming. It was 
characteristic of Ethel to hum. Presently, when they had 
mounted, she began: 



€€ 



J wonder if the girl I'm thinking of — i$ thinking — of — nw/ 



» 



"Oh, dear, what a life! I say, Lily," she screwed round 
and called to Miss Sanderson, " which button do you press to 
make this figure talk? 

"Why, won't he? 

" Not to me." She examined Hannibal with humorous criti- 
cism. " Perhaps he's in love with me and don't like to show it 
Or don't you like fair girls, Hanny? That must be it, Lily. 
He admires brunettes," 

*" Chuck it I " pleaded Hanmbal. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 287 

"' Wbat's the matter. Ducky ? Doesn't this old 'bus roll about ! 
It's like bein' on a ship," and she began to hum. 

" On the ro-o-o-o-l-ling deep ! " ending up with an absurdly 
high squeak that made him laugh as the 'bus threw her against 
him. 

" Mr. Simpkins '11 be gettin' on to me, sittin' 'ere," said Han- 
nibal, feeling the warmth of her body. Mr. Simpkins, the 
laundry-manager, was deep in conversation with Amelia. 

" Is that your way of sayin' you like my room better'n my 
company ? " asked Ethel, looking at Hannibal in a way that 
made him uncomfortable. Her moist red lips and full blue eyes 
were close to his face, her thigh was pressed against his own, 
and he could not help seeing her bosom as his eyes dropped. 
He put his arm over the edge of the rail to give himself a little 
more room. 

" I don't mean that," he stammered. " I only thought 'e 
might feel out in the cold." 

" He knows you're one of the family," she returned. " How's 
the Little Brown Box ? Is Amy behaving herself ? " 

" Oh, yes," he laughed. ** We manage somehow." 

"No lovers' tiffs?" 

He shook his head. 

"How's Auntie?" 

" Pretty fair." 

She gave it up at last Her quick ears caught the drift of 
John's conversation with Miss Sanderson on tiie seat behind, 
and turning half-round she joined in. Hannibal looked at her 
blouse which was, like most young women's blouses, partly open 
at the back. He took the edges and slipped the buttons into 
place with one of his gentle caressing motions that all uncon- 
sciously reached feminine hearts. She turned to him. 

" Hanny," she said, " you're a stick, and I'm goin' to make 
you talk. You told a fib when you said you and Amy hadn't 
tiffed. She told me all about it." 
About what?" 

You know. She feels it, Hanny. When a girl gets engaged 
she likes to be cuddled and made a fuss of. You treat her as if 
she was in a glass case." 

" Fancy 'er tellin' you that! " 

"She didn't! I didn't say she did. How dare yon twist 
my words? She only told me how you said, 'Yes, Amy/ and 



« 



288 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



* No^ Amy/ and,'' here Ethel laughed, " shook hands when you 
said good-bye." 

" It is funny, when you come to think of it," he remarked 
coldly. 

" Well I never ! " Ethel regarded her cousin with some ca- 
riosity. " It isn't off, is it.^ " she whispered, feverish to get the 
first news, 

" It will be if people can't mind their own business,*' he 
replied. Ethel's hand strayed to his knee. It was a hand too 
plump to be pretty, with well-kept nails and looped with silver 
bangles. A white openwork mitten reached ^o her elbow. 

'* Hanny," she said, ** don't show it before mother, will you ? 
She can't bear any excitement." 

" I ain't excited, Eth ; you needn't worry about me. I wish 
you wouldn't do that," he added, as she pressed closer to him. 

" Why, what am I doing? " 

"Squeezin'?" 

" You are a funny boy, Hanny." 

" I know I am, everybody laughs as I go down the street. 
I'm a walkin' Comic Cuts, I am," he agreed acidly. " It's the 
way I'm made, I s'pose! Family weakness." 

If Miss Sanderson, with her delicate psychic apparatus, had 
alarmed Hannibal, it was he himself who was now causing 
some perturbation in Ethel's plump bosom. This was a new 
Cousin Hannibal indeed. She felt a little afraid of him, a 
little suspicion that there might be something in him neither 
in accord with the Brown philosophy nor actually bad, some- 
thing different. Evidently he had a temper, quite cutting. 
Poor Amy! They had to get off the 'bus as Ethel arrived at 
this conclusion, and Hannibal was not surprised to see her push 
through to her sister who was descending the steps. Bumping 
against Tom, who was holding his young lady in a firm grip, 
Hannibal was glad to exchange humorous comments concerning 
the facility in what Tom called "* chin-chewing." Tom and his 
young lady did not indulge in the gay amorousness of the younger 
members of the family. They courted strictly according to 
regulation, they kissed each other on the cheek at greeting and 
partings, but Miss Bax felt that her position as senior assistant 
in the actuarial department of Messrs. Krehbiel Ganz & Co., 
London Wall, precluded any frivolity in her attitude towards 
love. She realised that in a little time she would, as Tom's 



* CASUALS OF THE SEA 289 

wife, assume the virtual headship of the Brown communily. It 
would not do to place herself exactly on the same level as Ethel, 
Amelia, or even Miss Sanderson. Miss Sanderson and she had 
measured swords already ; it required all the prestige of Krehbiel 
Ganz & Co. (capital seventeen million dollars) to balance Miss 
Sanderson's position and refinement as the only daughter of a 
gentleman who had had losses. They were too conscious of the 
good opinion of the Browns to show any hostility, but one could 
imagine them later, each in her holy-of-holies, dissecting each 
other before sympathetic allies, and lamenting the shortcomings 
of human nature. Tom's deference to the opinion of Miss 
Bax showed him to have the makings of an admirable husband, 
fitted to carry the business forward to heights undreamed of 
by Mr. Brown in his dangling days. Indeed, the secret of their 
continued prosperity lay in Tom and Miss Bax, who were at 
this moment descending the steps of the 'bus. Hannibal looked 
down upon them as curiously as though they were beings of a 
different species. Joke as Tom might, and he was not a gloomy 
young man, he made you feel the responsibility that lay upon 
him. His dark, simply-cut clothes, his leather watch-guard, his 
plain tie and slightly old-fashioned collar, his square-toed boots 
with elastic sides, the bowler hat which covered his head winter 
and summer — all these little points were points of difTerence 
which set him subtly apart form the men of straw. Joke as he 
might, Tom evidently regarded this pilgrimage to Waterloo to 
meet his mother as a sort of ritual. Mrs. Brown was the Queen 
Bee of the hive. She had done nothing but give them birth, 
which was sufficient. You felt as you watched him and Miss 
Bax arm-in-arm, he on the outer side, that tins was for them a 
solemn moment. The authors of their being — for Miss Bax 
already considered them her parents — were even now enduring 
that almost interminable purgatory, the wait at Vauxhall; they 
had yielded up their tickets, were removing the luggage from 
the racks, collecting magazines and rugs, looking out upon the 
illimitable roofland of South London. Hannibal, following the 
Browns up the incline that leads to the platform, was conscious 
of their feeling in the matter. Unknowingly he was up against 
the very foundation of our national life. It was the lack of this 
solidarity, this community of interest, which had caused the 
Gooderich family to fall apart like dry sand. It was Hannibal's 
privilege now to behold an apotheosis of the Brown religion as 



200 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the train came slowly to rest^ and Mr. Brown's head covered 
hy a soft grey felt hat^ protruded from the window of a second- 
class carriage. Simultaneously the party moved towards the 
compartment^ pushing past strangers and porters^ splitting round 
a barrow and reuniting in an intense little group. An incoherent 
murmur of welcome rose from them. Hannibal saw Tom^ bare- 
headed^ tugging at the door> handing out luggage and passing 
it on to the others. Hannibal found himself holding a port- 
manteau. Then Mr. Brown^ broad breasted and summery in 
tliin grey serge^ bent his head and descended amid handshakes 
and kissing. So far the Queen Bee had not been visible. Mr. 
Brown^ looking rounds spoke to Tom in grave tones and re-entered 
the compartment. Shawls emerged one by one^ John was de- 
tached to call a four-wheeler to the kerb, porters, like vultures 
when the traveller staggers, began to hover on the outskirts, and 
then Hannibal caught sight of a large woman slowly emerging 
from the dimly-lit train. With much assistance she came to rest 
on the platform, and after a pause for welcomes and filial kiss- 
ing, moved across to the cab. All were in. strict order of prec- 
edence. Mr. Brown and Tom guided the lady's slow footsteps, 
Amelia and Ethel carried intimate tilings like shawls, rugs, and 
chatelaine, John of course stood holding the door of the cab, 
Mr. Simpkins and Miss Bax came nes^t with pillows and dress- 
ing-case. Miss Sanderson, who seemed to have adroitly avoided 
becoming a beast of burden, held her own skirt and looked in- 
terested, while Hannibal peeped over her shoulder. 

It was very impressive. I have seen a foreign monarch ar- 
rive at a London railway station with less impressiveness than 
did Mrs. Brown. Even the driver of the four-wheeler twisted 
round on his box and looked on with respectful interest. There 
was a pause as Mr. Brown took his seat beside his wife; the 
group on tip-toe stood as if expectant of a miracle. Mrs. Brown 
raised her hand and waved it gently. Tom, still bare-headed, 
closed the door with reverence. Suddenly Mr. Brown gave a 
hasty glance round, looked at Tom with the look of rigid horror 
assumed by Englishmen when they have lost personal property, 
and breathed the word " portmanteau." The news was spread 
like fire in stubble through the group. Where was the port- 
manteau? Hannibal was surrounded, relieved of the burden, 
patted on the back as though he had done a noble deed, and 
the baj^ was hoisted to the rpof, Mr^ Brown was beard to re- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 291 

mark in reply to Tom's earnest enquiry, tliat tbe boxes were 
coming on to-morrow in advance. Tiie word " advance " is used 
by railways in England much as " express " is used by parcels 
companies in America — facetiously. At length the cab moved 
off and the Brown group gazed at the back of it until it was 
lost to sight. The next thing to do was to get home as quickly 
as possible. Much discussion between Tom and his sister pro- 
duced a definite policy. It would not do to be late, therefore 
Amelia must take a cab. She could not travel without an escort 
even in a cab, so Tom was elected to go with her. But Tom 
could not desert Miss Bax. What then was to be done? Ethel 
turned round and sought Hannibal. 

'* Let Hanny go with you, Amy/' she said. Tom had no 
objection. He could travel in a cab whenever he liked, but 
the pleasure of abstaining from luxuries, while knowing he could 
have tliem if he wished, far outweighed the childish joy of 
spending money. He was quite willing to let the young fellow 
go. Almost before he knew it, Hannibal was inside a second 
four-wheeler which had drawn up at the kerb. Amelia was 
seated next him. Ethel's generosity in this matter is explained 
by the fact that Mr. Simpkins, the laundry manager, had already 
pledged himself secretly to a hansom. John's plans were not 
known. John's plans could not reasonably expect a great deal 
of attention since he was only an apprentice as yet. In fact, 
had John not been one of them, the Browns would have been 
mildly carious to know how he had come to fall in love with 
Miss Sanderson. Even after marriage, when John got a gaffer's 
job, the exact relations of the pair were not ascertained by the 
family. On one occasion, when his lady had signified with tiger- 
ish emphasis the importance of recognising her as boss in her 
own house, John had surprised the family by endorsing her claim. 
But when the squall blew over and the blue sky of connexional 
harmony smiled upon them they found themselves as vague as 
ever as to John's standing with her his wife. And so, in the 
excitement of four-wheelers and hansoms, pervaded as it was 
with Tom's growl and Ethel's high-pitched chatter, John and 
Miss Sanderson faded away, to appear at supper (taken on the 
knee in the drawing-room) mysteriously happy. 

'* She looks wonderfully improved," said Amy, as tlie cab 
wrenched round the corner into the street. " Bournemouth 
always did suit her/' She did not seek for any answer to thia# 



292 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

She was wrapt in a dream, an ecstasy of pleasure at seeing ber 
beloved parent again. You might have imagined that Amelia, 
being the elder dau^iter, would have felt reluctant to take the 
second place again in the house. But she knew that her mother 
would be an invalid still. It had become a habit almost im- 
possible to break for Mrs. Brown to have things done for her. 
She would sit among cushions with a rug over her knees and 
receive her lady-friends in state, and those lady-friends would 
be under Amelia's thimib. They would have to accept tea and 
pastry from her table. They would have to admit her to their 
confidence or they would not come again. Miss Bax might be 
Tom's sweetheart, but until she was Tom's wife, Amelia was 
in charge. She sat there in the cab in a fit of glad abstraction 
planning out the summer. Hannibal looked at her furtively in 
the darkness and saw that he was forgotten. A sudden percep- 
tion came to him, that in all probability he would be forgotten 
in the future. He could not for the life of him enter into that 
unity of thought which distinguished the Browns and their satel- 
lities, and it followed that sooner or later he would be forgotten. 
In his mind this momentary lapse of Amelia's tlioughts became 
typical of her world. Very likely Ethel was right. They 
thought him dull and uninteresting. Very likely, too, Miss 
Sanderson would have got tired of him after a while. Now tliat 
he came to think of it, he had used his opportunity to talk to 
Miss Sanderson very poorly. It was always the way. He was 
dazzled by close contact with women and did not know what 
to say. 

He felt depressed and disheartened. 

"What did you tell Ethel about us for?" he asked, lookmg 
solemnly out of the window. One of tlie priceless advantages 
of possessing a small mind is the power to train it upon any 
problem in a flash. So with Amelia. 

"She's my sister, I suppose?" she enquired. 

" Givin' me a fine name." 

"What name?" 

" Stick." 

" Well ! " Amelia laughed suddenly. " She wasn't so far off, 
was she? You know, Hanny, your mind isn't on your job. 
You'll never get on if you go round fly-catchin'." 

" Think not? " 

" Positive. That's all Eth meant by ' stick.' I wouldn't let 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 293 

her call jon names as a general things and she wouldn't want 
to. Bat she can't help noticin'." 

** You ought to 'ave left me in the Repositories^" he remarked. 
** I feel all out of it 'ere, ridin' in cabs." 

*' And give up the shop ? " she cried. 

"You can get somebody else for that job." 

"Oh, don't be so silly! I s'pose you're grousing because I 
didn't like you leavin' tlie shop. I might have said a good deal 
more'n I did this morning." 

" I noticed that. Why didn't you? " 

Amelia turned and looked at him, astounded at his perspicacity. 
I thought we had an understanding," she faltered. 
I 'ad idea that way too," lie admitted. 
Then why do you ask me why didn't I fly out at you when 
I noticed it? Do you think I wanted to have a row? If I'd 
known you knew, I would have." And she flung herself away 
from him. 

" 'Ere's the 'ouse," said Hannibal as the cab drew up. He 
got out, put his hand in his pocket and found a florin. He gave 
it to the driver and turned to his cousin. 

" I'll see Aunt Lizzie another time," he said briefly. " I've 
*ad just about all I can stand for to-night." 

And turning away, he went ofl* down the street without giving 
her an opportunity to reply. 






IX 

ON Waterloo Bridge he paused^ and leaning oyer one 
of the embrasures studied the amazing scene spread 
before his eyes. On eitlier hand the embankment was 
picked out in a curve of lights, tlie great hotels loomed 
up on the right bank, and away westward the clock of West- 
minster glowed like a yellow moon. Below, the dark water 
reflected the illumination of tlie shores ; here and there a deep red 
or green light marked a moving craft. From the Strand came 
a dull roar of traflic; police wliistles called shrilly for cabs; 
behind him the omnibuses rumbled and carts rattled. Far away 
on Westminster Bridge lights of swift hansoms sped across con- 
tinually. The night was clear and warm. There was no despair 
in his heart; rather was there the exultation of revolt He had 
by some strange effort, some reaction quite alien to his ordinary 
apathetic attitude towards life, broken from tlie Brown influence. 
That influence would claim him again in the morning. He had 
no confldence in himself if Amelia appeared next day in a melt- 
ing mood. How did he get the courage to state the facts so 
bluntly? He did not know. It seemed almost as if he had 
heard some one else saying it. To tell the Browns that he had 
all he could stand of them — my word ! Amelia would think him 
ofl* his chump. She had said he went round catching flies, had 
she? Well, he had given her something to think over now. He 
was not going to be absorbed into the Brown system so easily 
after all, he was not quite devoid of individuality. Miss Sander- 
son had realised there was something in him. And Ethel, too, 
had had a shock. As he looked out across the dark water, the 
young man's eyes hardened a little. He would not give in. 
Again there came to him the consciousness of his power to break 
away. Wliat did he want to do? He did not know nor care. 
He would find his way' to the world he had dreamed of, never 
fear. Under the stress of his thoughts he moved a little, and 

became aware of a shadow. He looked up quickly to see the 

294 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 295 

huge btilk of a policeman standing over him. He started back 
with an exclamation^ instinctively avoiding the law. 

" You'd better get along/' suggested the law. " I thought at 
first you were goin* to do yourself in." 

Hannibal laughed and stood back a little further from the 
parapet. " Not me ! " he answered, taking out a pipe to show 
his easiness under scrutiny. " I was only 'avin' a look roun'. I 
don't come this way often. What's that street up there ? " He 
pointed towards Covent Garden. 

"Strand," said the law. "Where do you want to go?" 

" 'Ome, Mile End Road." 

The policeman^ who was only waiting for ten o'clock to go 
eastward himself, nodded. 

" Up there, and round the right. Tuppence on the 'bus." 

" Thank you. Good night." 

The brief conversation restored the young man's balance and 
solidified his belief in himself. The recoil from the Browns' 
influence led him to contemplate confiding in his mother. Now 
this casual contact with the world left him standing on his feet 
again. He strode on towards the Strand,, and seeing an East-end 
omnibus waiting across the road, ran over and sprang upon 
it. The noise, the lights, the movement of the great teeming 
street exhilarated him. He felt outrageously glad that he had 
affronted Amelia so brazenly. He cast about him for something 
that would embody his revolt. If he went home that would be 
a tame ending — he would have gone home anyway. Ah, he 
had it! He would have a drink, for a start. He felt in his 
pocket and found a shilling and some smaller coins, about one- 
and-ninepence. He regretted that florin now. 

He descended at Aldgate and entered a bar. To push in and 
out of a pub is part of East-end education. Even people who 
are strict abstainers in that part of the world have a certain 
familiarity with licenced premises. These gin-palaces, as Mrs. 
Gaynor was accustomed to describe them, are the clubs of the 
poor. It is necessary to remember this when reflecting upon 
Hannibal's behaviour. To him and to the majority of East 
Londoners, entering a public-house signified nothing. Even 
to Amelia it signified nothing in itself. In the old days when 
Mr. Brown was in a comically small way of business, when 
Hannibal's father was buried, for instance, it was a right and 
{nroper thing to go into bars, i^aw they bad reached a higher 



296 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

plane where they were limited to hostelries like the " Boll and 
Bush " and the '' King's Head " at Roehampton. And it might 
as well be explained here while Hannibal was entering that bar, 
that Amelia would have had some trouble to explain in stark 
language why she cherished such an objection to the faint odour 
of liquor which lingered round her cousin when he returned to 
the shop. It could not be any prejudice against drink. The 
Browns were all too much alive^ too interested^ too intelligent 
to have any craven fear of it Possibly it was because^ taking 
Hannibal at his own valuation, she did not consider him one of 
the family, and so came unconsciously to the cbnclusion that 
drink was a possible vice with him. Perhaps the rumours cur- 
rent when her uncle died, that he had had a drop too much, 
weighed with her. Perhaps it was merely a feminine desire to 
find fault with a young man who offered a too easy mark. 
Whatever her ultimate motive, it would have been formidably 
strengthened had she seen him now breasting the mahogany bar 
asking for a bitter and selecting a match from the sheaf that 
stood near his elbow. 

The bar was a saloon, semicircular, with seats in the comers 
of the room. As he turned to glance round after a sip, Han- 
nibal was surprised to see his friend Mr. Grober in a chair 
by a small table, enjoying his black briar and a tankard of ale. 
The young man nodded, and Mr. Grober, regarding him with 
attention, witlidrew from his reverie far enough to respond. 
Hannibal felt a singular excitement on beholding tlie old man 
thus occupied. He took up his glass and went over to him. 

" Good eveninV he said. "I'd no idea you were in 'ere." 

" The surprise is mutual," responded Mr. Grober. " I thought 
you were engaged for the evening." 

"Oh, we went to see 'er parents come back from the sea- 
side," explained Hannibal. " I got sick of it and cleared out." 

Mr. Grober looked at his young friend with some curiosity. 

" You are fortunate," he said simply. 

" 'Ow d'you mean ? " asked Hannibal, drinking. 

" To be able to clear out, as you express it, whenever the 
mood takes you. It will not be always so, believe me." 

" Oh, I'm not goin' to be bossed," said Hannibal. 

Mr. Grober's face expressed pity. 

"And how do you propose to avoid it?" he asked. "When 
the greatest men are ruled by women, while they have it in 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 297 

their power to make our lives either a hades or an eljsium^ how, 
I ask^ do you propose to escape the universal fate ? " 

" Oh^ it ain't as bad as that. Mister/' Hannibal protested. 

" You are young and time will show/' said Mr. Grober. 
"You imagine that your young lady is merely a female. A 
woman is only a manifestation of her sex. Except in rare cases 
she has no essential nature of her own. Men speak of having 
been under the influence of various women. Never was there 
such a puerile misconception. They are all one woman. He 
escapes from one only to succiunb to the enchantments of an- 
other. He may fly from England to China, from China to Peruj 
but it is all in vain. Ultimately she gets him, and deals out to 
him the destiny ordained from the beginning. Happy the man 
who can snatch some happiness in the intervals of the pursuit, 
and steel his heart with philosophy against the unforeseen 
tragedies of his life. You will read/' continued Mr. Grober, 
"you will read in that book in your pocket the story of a 
fruitless attempt to evade the eternal question of sex. That is 
what I mean by all women being one and the same. Woman 
has been told so often tliat she is an angel, that she has grown 
to believe it. The most cursory examination of a few examples 
of women is sufficient to disprove this monstrous fallacy." 

" I s'pose you're a woman-'ater, Mr. Grober/' said Hannibal, 
looking judicially into his pipe. 

" By no means. I am merely giving you, a young and in- 
experienced man, the benefit of close observation. I am what 
the world calls a failure, which means I have the right to criti- 
cise the world. Disraeli said of critics that they were those 
who had failed in literature and art. I may transpose Disraeli's 
dictum and say that failures are those who exchange success in 
art or in life for the right to criticise. A little thought will 
show that only the failure can pass unbiased judgment upon the 
world. The majority of people imagine that because a man has 
failed in this particular world, he's failed absolutely. By no 
means. Many a man who sinks down and dies and is forgotten 
might, by one infinitesimal turn of fortune's wheel, have landed 
beside Caesar and Napoleon. Still more men who struggle furi- 
ously with poverty might, by a chance movement of the hand, a 
furtive roll of the eye, light upon some hidden spring which 
when touched, would transfer them to an Aladdin's Palace. 
Chance, chance, chance! Take myself; at any moment I may 



298 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

turn over an old folio and discover some document which will 
draw upon me the attention of every learned society in Europe. 
So far a ten tliousand to one chance had been against me." 

" You aren't countin' on it^ I suppose ? *' asked Hannibal, 
whose mind was puzzled yet attracted by the old gentleman's 
fluent monologue. 

" I count on nothing. I am a fatalist^ by which I mean that 
I disbelieve in the future. It does not exist. To an age de- 
bauched by erroneous systems of logic it may sound strange, but 
the future does not exist." 

'' I am afraid that's a bit too deep for me," said the young 
man. " Take me. Can't make up my mind what I'm going to 
do to-morrow." 

The question recalled Mr. Grober to the immediate present. 

" Well," he said^ finishing his beer, *' I should imagine that 
you can answer that question better than I." 

The young man lifted his glass, glanced with a roving eye 
round the glittering bar, drank off the liquor and set down the 
empty glass. 

" That's right," he said. " I can. I 'ave," he added. 

Mr. Grober looked at the clock over his head and rose. 

" I must go/' he said hurriedly. " I had no idea of the time. 
Come over to the shop." 

They went out together through the swing doors. 

** You speak as if you had made up your mind to do some- 
thing extremely important," Mr. Grober began when they had 
crossed the road. " Now I am ready to admit that there is one 
incalculable element in human life, and that is Youth. It is 
unique. If it were not for Youth there would be neither joy 
nor sorrow in the world. If it were not for Youth — come in, 
come in, — if it were not " 

Mr. Grober's stream of eloquence was cut off short as he 
entered the shop and beheld his wife standing by the inner 
door. Hannibal felt acutely uneasy as he noted the light of 
battle in the lady's eye. He witlidrew to the book-encumbered 
entry. Mr. Grober's entire personality seemed to shrivel be- 
neath his wife's viperish regard. His hands faltered and made 
deprecating motions in the air, he slithered sideways to his chair 
and sank into it as though beaten down by the torrent of her 
vituperation. There was neither skill nor meaning in her words, 
but a mere unimaginative repetition of foul phrases. Hannibal 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 299 

"was appalled^ and drew further oat towards the street^ pretend- 
ing to examine the yolumes on the shelves. Not one word of 
retort did the old man offer to stem the rushing flow of profane 
upbraiding. He sat wilted and diminished, his arm dangling over 
the back of the chair, the black briar between his fingers. Only 
once, when she hurled the opprobrium '' Lousy old soaker " at 
him, did he move as though to reply. She was not an old 
^woman; had she been lapped in luxury she might have been 
pretty, and at most she was forty. But the evil rage in her 
heart, the gnawing penury of body and spirit had distorted and 
maligned her features so that now as she sjood swaying in her 
passion, she might have been one of the Furies pursuing her 
husband with implacable hatred. 

"What d'you want?" she turned hoarsely to HannibaL 
''Standin' there listenin'? You re like all the rest o' them, 
lookin' and lookin' and puttin' 'em back, an' never buyin'." She 
paused, exhausted, put her right hand to her throat and coaghed 
weakly, making motions with her left for him to be gone. Han* 
nibal stepped out into the street and paused irresolutely. Then 
he walked back into the shop. 

"Why, what 'ave I done, missis?" he asked boldly. 

She waved him away without turning to him. 

" Sling yer 'ook," she croaked, for her voice was gone. '" Sling 
it." 

" Shan't," said Hannibal, and the old man looked up at him, 
mumbling, "Youth! Youth!" to himself. "Mr. Grober 'ere 
ain't said anythin' about chasin' me out, 'as 'e? " 

The storm was over; Mrs. Grober repassed the inner door 
and vanished. Slowly the drooping head of the old bookseller 
revived. 

"I regret, my young friend," he said, "that you should 
have witnessed such a scene. For the yoimg it is undoubtedly 
an unfortunate spectacle. Mrs. Grober is subject to occasional 
fits of depression. Possibly the profits accruing from the sale 
of second-hand literature might be larger. I may be mistaken, 
but I have never heard of any one making a* million out of it. 
And that is a curious feature of the profession. We have it on 
the word of Monsieur Heineffethermatt that there are over a 
thousand million printed volumes." Mr. Grober was off again, 
his hands waving, his dull blue eye fixed on Hannibal's face. 
" Let us take a conservative estimate, ten per cent for second- 



ft 



300 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

hand matter. That gives us one hundred millions. One per 
cent of that, say, for England, which leaves at the disposal of 
a hypothetical dealer one million volumes. Surely, by means of 
business aciunen and judicious handling of capital it would be 
possible to control the sale of those million books. Yoa need, 
say, a text-book." 

" I don't," grinned Hannibal. 

We will make the supposition," replied Mr. Grober gravely. 
You come to me. Having in my control the whole of the 
second-hand books in the country, I maintain price. You offer a 
shilling. I keep the price at two shillings, even three. You are 
financially at my mercy." 

" People 'Id buy new ones then," surmised Hannibal. 
" Ah ! You have put yoyr finger on an important point. The 
scheme would involve negotiations with the publishers, and that 
is a fatal defect. I have discovered, young man," Mr. Grober 
remarked with energy, ** that anything which involves negotia- 
tions with a publisher is apt to prove unfortunate for the other 
party. 

"Were you the other party?" asked Hannibal curiously. 
" For my sins, I was," said Mr. Grober. " If you will assist 
me to shut up, I will tell you about it." 
"AU right, mister." 

Hannibal set to work at once. He put down his pipe, strode 
out to the front and began tumbling the books into the boxes. 
Mr. Grober turned out the gas in the front and carried in the 
various cards which announced to a careless world the sacrifice 
of certain special lots at prices hardly compatible with Mr. 
Grober's imaginary trust. When the boxes were inside and 
the shutter down, he motioned Hannibal towards the back room. 
To the young man's look of scared enquiry he indicated the 
ceiling with his forefinger, pursing his lips to imply that while 
Mrs. Grober had retired to an upper floor, quietness would en- 
sure her remaining there. With some apprehension, therefore, 
Hannibal passed the glass door and found himself in a smaU, 
dirty room furnished with sofa and chairs of dark green velvet, 
an oval table with a black oil-cloth cover, and a stunted side- 
board. A naked gas-burner over the table gave a scanty illumi- 
nation. Mr. Grober followed, rubbing his hands. Into his 
seamed and bloodless features had come a certain exultation. 
Stooping before the sideboard he took from it a square bottle 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 801 

and two thick glasses. Setting them on the table^ he regarded 
them for a moment in deep thought^ as though he were struggling 
to realise the solemnity of the moment. Hannibal^ his cap in 
his hand^ sat on the edge of the sofa, watching him shyly. At 
length Mr. Grober, still keeping Ills cap on his head, removed 
the cork and poured out some whisky. Then he looked round 
as though he had lost something. Feeling in his pocket for 
matches, he struck one and searched in a cupboard near the 
window. He brought back a jug containing water. 

" The lower classes of the metropolis occasionally use milk/' 
he remarked, filling up Hannibal's glass and adding a tiny trickle 
to his own. " I believe it is considered vulgar, though it would 
puzzle a philosopher to explain why. I mentioned something 
about publishers, did I not.^ Well, many years ago, — but drink, 
my friend, drink," and he pushed the glass to the abashed Han- 
nibal. A sudden vision of his mother waiting up for him at 
home flashed across his mind. Was he, after all, effecting any- 
thing particularly heroic by associating with this old man.^ And 
then the great desire, to press forward into experience, to pass 
somehow beyond the narrow bounds which had been hemming 
him in, came over him, and he lifted the glass. 

He heard Mr. Grober clinking the square bottle against his 
tumbler as he poured out another measure of the spirit. What 
was it Mr. Grober was saying? Hannibal felt astonishingly 
buoyant and optimistic. He tried to keep his attention on 
Mr. Grober. " I believed in those days in the future. For 
me it existed as a bright and roseate dream of ineffable power 
and joy," so ran Mr. Grober's thin voice, quavering now with 
excitement as the spirit pervaded his brain. " I dreamed in 
my folly, that since ambition had marked me for her own, I 
would find recognition, fame, wealth, ultimate illimitable happi- 
ness. I deemed that, having Youth, I liad every requisite to 
invest the manifestation of my life with the form of Art. I — 
what was I saying? Invest — aye, a fatal word! The dam- 
nable materialism of the age has covered the very language of 
art with its offensive slime. Had I but lived in the glorious 
days of the Benaissance, when Cellini, Michael Angelo, and 
Aretino lived out their fierce and tragic lives ! " 

The young man sat on the edge of the sofa listening to the 
old man's wandering and incoherent speech in some perplexity. 
The spirit was potent within him; his mind soared to a sense 



SD2 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

of supreme accomplishment. Mr. Grober, after all^ was not 
so important as he seemed to think he was. That old chap 
oyer there was gassing away — poor old blighter! Now be, 
Hannibal Gooderich^ had something in him. He was going to 
do something. What was it he was going to do? Never mind. 
He shook his head portentously in front of Mr. Grober, who 
was pointing at him with the stem of his pipe. 

" Have you/' asked Mr. Grober, ** ever reflected that a man's 
destiny may be determined by a trivial matter? " 

Hannibal shook his head. *' Don't understand/' he said. 

'* I speak of men, not failures^ not even tliose so-called suc- 
cessful beings who plod along year after year and never muster 
courage to turn and grapple with their fate. I speak of men, 
not of the great majority like ourselves. We never give hostages 
to fortune, we never dare to bum our ships behind us. We creep 
along in the mud until the grave opens and takes us in. I speak 
of men!** The old man's voice rang out on the word with an 
energy and resonance that startled himself. He shrank into 
himself again^ listening fearfully for any sound above. 

" I don't see why I shouldn't do somethin' on my own," 
whispered Hannibal. " I'm goin* to try, any'ow." 

"Beard Destiny in his den? Brave youth! Think of the 
millions round you. If they fail, can you succeed? " 

" Who's goin' to stop me ? " asked the young man. 

" Yourself. Your own craven spirit I " cried Mr Grober, 
striking the table with a soundless blow. " Do you think I 
have not tried it? Aye, tried, and at the first roar of the 
monster I ran screaming back to my accustomed haunts. Not 
for me the great world of action, not for me the glorious stmgg^ 
with unknown perils. I realised all too soon the fundamental 
difference between men and men. Fear, grim Fear sent me to 
my kennel, chained me there, and here you behold me. The 
Philosophy of Fear! When will the genius rise to proclaim 
it? Foolish dream! Grim paradox, my young friend! For if 
a man be held by Fear, he will never rise to proclaim it." 

" I see what you mean/' said Hannibal in a new voice. *' I 
reckon I've got into that 'abit myself, thinkin' as I can't go 
off on my own. Various things, me bein' engaged and all tiiat 
— - they do make you feel kind of 'elpless." 

'' Bound to the Caucasus/' assented Mr. Grober, pouring hini- 
self out tooro whisky. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 305 

" But I've been tbinkln' jus' lately that I'd like to get out 
and see things. F'r instance^ a friend o' mine^ 'e's a sailor^ 
and " 

" You propose to follow his example ? Excellent ! Tell me." 

Hannibal told him. He told it disjointedly^ going over the 
ground with interminable repetition^ growing more fluent as 
he proceeded, encouraged by the nodding of the old man's 
head. He told it ungrammatically and egotistically, told it to 
an elderly failure with years of systematic alcoholic stimulus, 
and whose brain cells were sagging with reaction, whose dull 
blue eyes peered at him through tlie curling smoke of a mal- 
odorous tobacco. He told it in a way that debars it from tran- 
scription, and yet in spite of, perhaps because of this disabil- 
ity, he communicated for the first time his own view of the 
world; he did that thing which so many of us fail utterly to do, 
he put forth his hand and touched the garment's hem of Ro- 
mance, he thrilled as he felt his soul pushing slowly, blun- 
deringly, yet surely through the veils of custom and law. He 
saw once more those strange shapes that had haunted his child- 
hood, realising suddenly how slieath after sheath of his im- 
mediate life had closed round him and shut him off from that 
vast rhythmic dream-world beyond. . • . 

He paused, and found himself sitting strained and stiff on the 
edge of the sofa, his glass in his hand, staring at tlie rigid 
features of the old man. 

" An' so," he concluded lamely, setting down the glass and 
looking round in a dazed way — " an' so I thought as I might 
find it agen, if I got out o' the net, see ? I ain't 'ad much 
education, an' I can't put it very well. That sailor-chap in 
the Iceland book — when 'e was away out there, fightin', 'c 
foimd it, such a long way from 'ome. I don't reckon you can 
ever see these things while you're at 'ome, eh ? " 

He looked into the bowl of his pipe as though he could read 
the tremendous riddle in the ashes. Mr. Grober was silent for 
a space, the frayed fabric of his deteriorated mind catching at 
odds and ends of the narrative. An expression, of bewilderment 
and grief struggled through the mask as the memory of his own 
youth was recalled by the young man's words. A sudden vision 
of himself as he might have been, had he held to his own, came 
with appalling clearness before him. The rickety scaffolding 
of hypocrisy, plastered with the gaudy lying show-cards of 



804 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

quack philosophy^ which concealed his failure from his own ejes^ 
fell away. 

He closed his eyes for a moment, close-locked in his own mnte 
agony, and then reached for the bottle. The young man had 
not asked him for advice, had not craved his judgment npon 
the world, and he felt the unconscious slight. He was nothing, 
a mere vacuum in the surrounding density, a vacuum which had 
sucked from the lad his story. He bowed his head as ihougli 
to the decree of an invisible fate. 

"I — I am scarcely in a position to say," he remarked in a 
dull, spiritless voice. " My own experience of tlie great arena 
of action has not been exactly exhilarating." 

Hannibal sat unheeding, absorbed in his own gnarled and 
tangled thoughts. The clink of the bottle against the glass 
roused him. He looked round to see the time. 

" I must get along," he said, standing up. " The old womanll 
be wonderin' where I've got to." 

" Have anotlier drink," said Mr. Grober, filling his glass. 
" Success to your new resolutions. I wish — I wish — but never 
mind, my wishes generally escape the notice of providence. I 
shall merely wish you joy of your adventure." 

Once more Hannibal swallowed the strange liquor that felt 
like hot velvet in his throat and sent a shiver through him, 
and then he took his cap. 

" Goo* niglit, mister," he said. " I'll look in agen." 

*' Like a ship passing in the night," said the old man, his dull 
blue eyes straying over Hannibal as they passed into the shop. 
There was a sound of footsteps overhead, a creak of the stairs, 
and Mr. Grober's expression changed. Tiptoing across the floor, 
Hannibal let himself out. 

" Good night ! " whispered the old man, peering forward with 
strained, ghastly features. " I give you a crumb of wisdom — 
' not mine, alas ! Be master of yourself. The world is not an 
\ oyster to be opened, but a quicksand to be passed. If you have 
I wings you can fly over it, if not you may — yes, yes, I am com- 
ing now, my dear ! — you may quite possibly be sucked in." 

The door closed abruptly and Hannibal found himself under 
the huge dome of the starlit sky. For a moment he looked up 
and down the broad thoroughfare with its endless rows of street 
lamps, its late tram clanking up from Mile End, its occasional 
swirl of yellow radiance from tavern or ham-and-beef shop, its 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 805 

hurrying pedestrians and leisarely policemen. Oblivions of the 
ferment in his brain^ the world was settling down to a few hours 
of rest. Hannibal set forward, crossing the road in front of tlie 
tram. The lateness of the hour — for the £ast End is unlike the 
West in this — came to him with fresh force, and he hurried on. 
Assembly Passage seemed unusually long in the darkness. Its 
one lamp, bracketed high up and flaring tlirough a broken pane, 
flung a darting and ghostly light athwart slintters and windows. 
Emerging into Jubilee Street, he saw a light in the front room. 
The old lady was waiting up for him. A shadow rose and 
crossed the blind as the gate whined at his touch. 

" Why, Hanny, wherever have yon been ? I was gettin' 
anxious." 

He told her briefly, flinging his cap on a chair and sitting on 
the sofa to unlace his boots. Mrs. Gooderich followed liim in 
and stood watching him. 

" I've had a visit," she said, sitting by the table and leaning 
her chin on her hand. " I've had a visit from Minnie." 

Hannibal, flushed with stooping, raised his eyes to his mother's 
face. 

''Eh?" he said blankly. Mrs. Gooderich repeated the re- 
mark. 

"After all this time?" he queried. 

" After all this tune." 

"What'dshe say?" 

"She was very quiet," said Mrs. Gooderich. "Very quiet." 
And then she added as an afterthought: " She always was." 

" She ain't — comin'— 'ere? " 

" No," said Mrs. Gooderich. " She isn't." 

"What'd she come for?" 

" To tell me she was goin' to be married." 

"Ah!" 

"She's a fine lady now, by her clo'es. Do yon know what 
that means, Hanny? " 

Mrs. Gooderich's face was pale with resolution. She too had 
been going tlirough a crisis. The sudden apparition of her 
daughter had flung her thoughts around her son. It was time 
Hanny was told certain things. Hannibal set his boots down 
in a corner and shook his head. 

I'm tired," he said, rubbing his eyes. 

What's the matter?" said his mother sharply. 






900 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



*' Bit worried/' he answered. " 'Ad some words with Amy. 
She's always gettin' at me." 

" Oh^ Hanny ! " Mrs. Gooderich sprang up. " You aren't goin' 
to spoil everything now! Think what it means to me." And 
she made a gesture of despair. 

" It ain't my fault," he argued. ** I can't 'dp it I don't 
reckon we'd get on very well. We ain't Uncle George's sort, 
any'ow. You know, mother," he went on, his hands in his 
pockets, " I feel sometimes in that shop as if I'd go oiT me head. 
I seem to be jus' rottin' there. And if I been thinkin' as 'ow 
it's got to come some day, so it might as well come now. I'm 
goin' to try and do somethin' on me own." 

" What ? " she asked dully, sitting down again. " You goin' 
that way, too?" 

•* It's like bein' in prison," he said, " since I left off goin* 
about with the chaps. Prison, cxcep' 'avin' sometliin' to read. I 
been thinkin' a lot lately an' I want to clear out." 

" I see you readin' Flotsam the other day," said Mrs. Goode- 
rich. " You'll be flotsam if you don't take care. I was afraid 
you'd be gettin' ideas." 

" I don't care," he growled. " Better be flotsam than moochin' 
in a tobacconist's all n^e life. Little Brown Box, Little Brown 
Box. Ell? Stop there till I'm ready for another little brown 
box? Ugh!" 

" What can you do ? " she asked, distressed. 

" I'll find somethin'. Mr. Grober, 'e ses * be your own master.' 
So I will. I don't want no Uncle Georges nor Aunt Elizas 
neither. All very well for them with their seaside an* cabs an' 
nice 'ouses. Let 'em 'aveit. I'm goin' me own road, damn 



em. 



" Hanny, you mustn't say such things ! " 

" I tell you I am ! WTiat'd you want to go to 'im for, any- 
way? I could 'a' got another job without 'im. They're only 
makin' a convenience o' me, any'ow." 

Mrs. Gooderich was silent. Minnie, sitting there cool and 
composed that afternoon, had said the same thing in other 
words, had offered her mother money, which had been refused 
with scorn. 

"Ain't she comin' any more, then?" he asked suddenly, re- 
calling his mother's news. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 807 

''I don't know. She said something abont lookin' in again 
to-morrow." 

"An* she's goin' to be married? Who to?" 

A shadow crossed his mother's face. 

" She says he's in a very good position^ and they've been 
waitin*. She says 'e put up the money for that business o' 
theirs in Sloane Street^ and those 'olidays she 'ad on the Conti- 
nent. I don't understand it myself. People don't give you 
money, if they don't want somethin' in return, especially men." 

" Well/' said Hannibal, yawning, " she's done all right for 
herself, I should reckon. Any supper, mother ? " 

Mrs. Gooderich rose to get him something to eat. 

" It's past twelve," she remarked reprovingly. " I don't think 
you ought to stay out so late." 

" I wasn't out," he retorted testily. " I was sittin' in the 
room behind the shop, talkin'. That's where it is," he con- 
tinued, " all the time, you an' Amy. You don't think this, you 
don't think that! Why can't you lea' me alone? I ain't Jack 
the Ripper, am I ? Nag, nag, nag ! " 

He plumped himself down and began to eat in sullen silence. 

*' I'm your mother, I think." Mrs. Gooderich intended to 
convey cutting sarcasm. " By the way you fly out at me, I 
might be dirt. Minnie's the same, she always was. I did think 
you were goin' to be different, Hanny. I did think Amy was 
going to make a man of you." 

" Amy can get somebody else to make a man of," he replied. 
" I'm no use to 'er. She as good as told me I went round 
catchin' flies, my mind ain't on me work, and all the rest of it. 
She's got the idea slie can bat me round jus' as she likes." 

" Then you must have been doin' something or other/' said his 
mother. 

" I went to get a drink an' some change, an' I was away from 
the shop about a minute, that's what I was doin'. That was 
only an excuse! I ain't their sort down at Kennington. She 
come down to ol' Grober's shop this evenin' wi' me, and turns 
up her nose at the place. Don't approve of 'im, I s'pose. Every 
bally thing I do is wrong. The kitten was all wrong too — an' 
jus' because she's got the tin. She can 'ave it." 

" Oh, I am sorry you can't get on there, Hanny. You know, 
she's right in a way. You do need someone to look after you." 



SOB CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" No use argoinV' he answered. " Let's go to bed My 'ead 
aches." 

" You smoke too much/' began his mother. 

" Oh, drop it, do," he cried desperately. " Do say somethin' 
without findin' fault What am I made of? Tell me that! 
What am I made of? Wouldn't it drive anybody balmy? " 

And witliout waiting for his mother's reply^ he went out and 
shut the door behind him. 



WHEN Hannibal had washed his hands in his little 
basin behind the counter after sweeping out the 
shop> polishing the brasswork, dusting the rows of 
canisters, replenishing the canaries' seed-pots and 
the match-jars that stood by the cigar-cutter, he took up a book- 
let that had been lying on the floor by the gate when he had ar- 
rived. It was an attractive little pamphlet, with a sap-green 
cover on which was represented a young man with sharp, clean- 
shaven jaws holding his crooked fingers over the floating form 
of a young lady lightly clad. In eye-piercing lettering the title 
ran RaUing the Dead. Desirous of knowing something about 
this subject, Hannibal silenced the inner voice that told him it 
was only an advertisement for a Pill, and sat down to investi- 
gate* 

Outside was a May morning. Even Billiter Lane was of 
cheerful aspect. Clerks, hasting to their offices or to the Baltic 
Exchange, vendors of violets, bananas and dates, maps of Lon- 
don and copies of shipping newspapers, made the little dark 
canyon between the great blocks of buildings seem gay and 
debonair. The kitten, with her blue ribbon askew on her neck, 
sat by the door and carried out an exhaustive personal examina- 
tion. From Fenchurch Street came the drone of a great traffic, 
punctuated at intervals by the call of a newsman or hoot of a 
motor horn, hoarse, poignant, and unmusical. 

Hannibal read the pamphlet in some perplexity. It implored 
him to pause and realise the terrific power which lay latent 
within him. This power was described as Hypnotic Suggestion. 
Up to the present this power had been used merely for such 
trivial purposes as medical science had indicated. That was 
now to be changed. He, the reader of that booklet, had power 
to raise the dead. Was this an exaggeration? By no means. 
People without ambition were dead, practically speaking. We 
referred to such as " dead to the world." That was to end right 
away. That dead ambition was to be resuscitated. Why did 

people remain in this coma of inaction? Why did people find 

309 



1 



510 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

it so difficult to succeed? Because they did not know their work. 
Inefficiency! the booklet replied in double leaded capitals. 
Why did they not know their work? Because they did not 
utilise the amaxing facilities of the Pallas Athene School of 
Tuition by Correspondence. Never mind others. Hypnotise 
yourself. Raise yourself from the dead wreck of inefficients. 
Nowadays the incompetent man was kicked out. He was 
scrapped. His ultimate destination was the casual ward. He 
lay under sentence of death before the Bar of the Modem Busi- 
ness World. 

Hannibal, with some misgivings, stared at the illustrations. 
There was Pallas Athene leaping fuU-armed from the head of 
Jupiter, for your really smart advertiser has no time to dis- 
criminate between the mythologies; there was a trembling in- 
efficient standing before a court of stern captains of industry, 
who were sentencing him to death; there was a broad-shoul- 
dered efficient sitting at an immense roll-top desk, with a back- 
ground of scores of other inferior efficients toiling at type- 
writers; there were little pictures of young Arabs, Russians, 
Japanese, and Hindoos, poring over the sheets issued by the 
Pallas Athene School. Occasionally wetting his thumb to turn 
the thick, highly-glazed pages, Hannibal went through the pam- 
phlet over and over again. He wondered if Mr. Grober had re- 
ceived one. Most probably. And what would Mr. Grober think 
of it? Here was Mr. Grober's teacliing in a modern and biting 
form. At the end was a page of "Axiomatic Aphorisms, the 
Double-distilled Quintessence of Philosophic Thought, boiled 
down and left in a cool place to set." As thus: — 

" Jupiter reached Danae in the shape of a shower of gold. 
It was the only way he could reach her." 

" A man can do the same — go through towers of brass — if 
he has the gold." 

" We show him how to get tlie gold." 

He laid it aside at length, and went to the door to think. 
He stood there in his shirt-sleeves, smoking a cigarette and 
trying to arrange things in his mind. Was there any truth after 
all in that little green book? Was it a certain thing that he, 
having a desire not to amass gold, nor acquire a position among 
captains of industry, but to see this great wonderful world in 
which he had been bom, and enjoy the beauty of it — was it 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 811 

certain he was doomed to sink down into the mire and die? 
He felt greatly perturbed. He had a sort of panicky feeling 
whenever he compared himself with those same captains of 
industry^ those rigid-featured geniuses who think in millions. 
Once he had read in a weekly paper an account of the marvel- 
lous career of one Sir Anthony Gilfillan^ the inventor of those 
same GilfiUan Filaments which illuminated the Little Brown 
Box. He had read Sir Anthony's maxims for success. The 
faked photograph of the man^ with deep-sunken eyta and bulging 
brow^ had given him that panicky feeling. And he had won- 
dered why his mother^ seeing the picture^ had taken the paper 
away from him. To tell the truths when Hannibal read of these 
great men^ that they had once been poor boys like himself^ he 
did not believe it. They may have been in moderate circum- 
stances^ but they had had some sort of luck. And as he grew 
up^ there had grown up along with him a dim conviction that 
the cause of their success was their intense desire for it. 
So that in the end^ Hannibal and Mrs. Gaynor and the Pallas 
Athene School had all arrived at the same simple psychological 
fact^ so ably expressed by Mrs. Gaynor herself when she said 
that many people fail to get what they wish because they don't 
wish hard enough. 

Hannibal decided^ as he stood there beside the kitten^ looking 
out into the street^ that very likely these efficient folk were 
right. But there came his difficulty. He could not see why^ if a 
fellow like himself wanted to look on at the show^ he couldn't 
do it without being considered a criminal. Everything he him- 
self took an interest in seemed to have no money value. There 
was Tiny Tim the kitten^ Bob and Bill the canaries. He loved 
them^ loved to watch them and feel that they knew him. It 
was a great deal to him that the canaries would jump on his 
finger if he put it between the bars^ that Tiny Tim would 
climb upon his shoulder and go to sleep as he sat behind the 
counter reading. And although a certain diffidence of soul led 
him to say nothing to Amelia about it^ he loved the flowers too. 
They did not shout at him that he was not succeeding in life^ 
that he was guilty of inefficiency^ that he must get on or get 
out; and yet^ for all that, they told him many things. So too 
with books luid pictures. I have mentioned some of the books 
with which Mr. Grober supplied him, but I have not mentioned 
the ever-present influence of the bookstall and picture shop. 



S12 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

There were certain windows before which the young man always 
paused, windows in which were pictures. There was one which 
had given him a great deal of pleasure, a painting of a wide 
stretch of green, rolling Atlantic, and it was called " Across the 
Western Ocean." He was sorry when that picture was taken 
away. But all this was of no profit to him, according to the 
Pallas Athene School. Of what use, they asked, were fine ideas 
and delicate thoughts if you made no money out of them? And 
he sighed as his attention was drawn to two men who emerged 
from the office of the steamship company across the way and 
came over towards him. One of them was a short, thick-set 
little man with a beard, who carried a brown leather satchel like 
a young lady's music-case. Hannibal retreated behind the 
counter. They entered, and when the little man had ordered 
some fine-cut pipe tobacco, continued talking. 

" And there's nothing else, I suppose. Captain? " said the tall 
young man, whom Hannibal had served occasionally. 

The gentleman addressed as Captain, busy lighting a cigar, 
shook his head. He had laid his satchel on the counter and 
Hannibal could read the name on it in sloping gilt letters: 

s.s. Caryatid. 

Hannibal placed the required canister on the counter and 
looked respectfully at the Captain. 

" The chief said he wanted a lad," said the latter, putting 
down some silver. '" I don't think he can get anybody here ; 
he doesn't know London much. I said I'd mention it while I 
was up in the City." 

" Why doesn't he go to the Sailors' Home? " said the young 
man, lighting a cigarette. 

" He can't get away. And besides, he says he doesn't want a 
lad who's been to sea before. They know too much. Always 
trouble with 'em." He looked up and saw Hannibal's strained, 
attentive face. 

"D'you know anybody?" he asked abruptly. 

''What — what sort o' job, sir?" stammered HannibaL 

'' Mess-room Steward. Good job for a handy lad." 

"On a ship, sir?" 

" Sure." 

"Yes, sir, I know somebody." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S15 



•'Coin' right away?" 

" Think so^ sir." Hannibal put down the change. 
The Captain took it up and pointed to the name of the ship on 
the satchel. 

"Victoria Dock. Sailin' to-morrow. He'd better go down 
and see the Chief to-daj. Say Captain Briscoe sent him down." 
" Yes, sir." 

They went out and other customers came in, the usual ten-to- 
eleven stream, and Hannibal served them like one in a trance. 
What a strange world it was! Here was a job on a ship; and 
this determined little man, in his dark blue suit and bowler hat, 
his slow authoritative manner and freckled hairy hands, seemed 
to have a different view of life to those appallingly efficient peo- 
ple who had printed that pamphlet about Raising the Dead. 
Hannibal wondered if he had after all dreamt it. Here was a 
job where the holders of it could easily know too much. Was it 
not too good to be true? Surely this was an oversight on the 
part of the Pallas Athene School of Efficiency. 

He turned it over in his mind as he served the customers. 
He hardly dared think of the thing to which he was com- 
mitted. To desert the shop and Amelia, to trample on the 
Brown Ideals! The 8.a. Caryatid. He looked out across the 
street at the picture. Was that the Caryatid in some far-dis- 
tant port? The kitten jumped on the counter and rubbed her- 
self against him unnoticed. One thing cheered Hannibal im- 
mensely, and that was the promptness with which he had seized 
the opportunity. After all, it was strange that skippers of 
steamers had not patronised the shop before. Another character- 
istic of the affair gave him a certain comfort. It almost seemed 
as if the control of things had passed out of his hands. It was 
fate. He was destined to go away. 

And then he came down to earth again as he thought of 
Amelia. He had left her with frightful abruptness the night 
before; would he be able to carry on that attitude when she 
came in to-day? He felt sadly that he would not. He figured 
her trim figure suddenly appearing at the door, her bright nod 
of the head, her rapid glance round the shop to see if all 
was right, her brisk inspection of the cash-register. How she 
did take hold, to be sure! What was he to do? He tried to 
avoid thinking of what he was to do, tried to fix his mind on 
the ship. A feeling of delicious terror ran through him as 



SU CASUALS OF THE SEA 

he thought of the strangeness of the life to which he had com- 
mitted himself by his headlong plunge into Captain Briscoe's 
conversation. He recalled that visit to the Docks with Mrs. 
Gaynor and Hiram^ the great spars of the Cygnet overhead, 
with the sails dropped partly down to dry, the immacnlate 
cleanliness (so different^ by the way^ from steamer cleanliness, 
or even workhouse cleanliness), the air of invisible authority that 
informed every movement, the mystery of curtained port-holes 
and impregnable teak doors. And now if he did as he had 
promised, he was to see that life complete, he would step aboard 
of this steamer, the Caryatid, and she would bear him outward 
on the tide, beyond the mud of the estuary, out into the sharp 
cool air and cloud-rimmed circle of the heaving sea. He caught 
his breath quickly as he tried to frame for himself out of his igno- 
rance some credible presentment of a streetless and mobile 
existence. There would be no Little Brown Box. His imagina- 
tion staggered and halted before that for a while, for he had 
grown up among little brown boxes of various kinds, he had 
lived in spirit for many years in a little brown box. He re- 
membered his father in a brown box in the front room. And 
when they had left Maple Road their belongings went into a 
brown box. He could hardly conceive of an existence apart from 
that emblem of discreet security. And yet, had he not read 
with vague gropings towards ultimate liberty, of folk who dwelt 
far out beyond the Narrow Seas, who lived casual lives, sorrow- 
ful sometimes indeed, but free? 

Leaning on the counter, his head on his hands, he fell into 
a waking dream of the future. The kitten crouched by the 
door in the shaft of warm sunlight that struck slantwise into 
the street, and the canaries twittered and trilled riotously above 
him. So his cousin found him when she came, and remembered 
it afterward, that pose of quiet distraction and the vacancy of the 
eye which he turned upon her when he spoke. A shadow crossed 
her smiling face when she saw it. She had been inclined to 
forgiveness as she came through the sunlit streets, though his 
behaviour had been very reprehensible. Rancour had but small 
place in the Brown character, and she had deflected the enquiries 
of her relatives with jocular evasions. But here he was again, 
up in the clouds ! 

" I was getting anxious,'' she said. " Last night you were so 
short I thought you must be ill. What was the matter? " 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 9U 

He stood up; and the kitten having sprung in friendly agility 
on the counter^ he brushed her away. The crisis was come^ and 
he had no glib phrase to hide under. 

" I'd' know," he said. " We all get the 'ump at times." 

" The hump," she flared. " A nice way to describe it. Tell 
me to my face you have had as much as you can stand of us and 
call it the hump." And she took a handkercliief from her 
pocket and held it to her nose, keeping her eyes fixed upon him. 
This was, I think, because she could not trust her mouth as she 
could her eyes, frequently the case with young women of the 
Brown type. A slow colour flooded Hannibars cheeks and the 
eyelids over the brown eyes flickered ominously. 

Amelia failed to read her cousin's face accurately. She imag- 
ined him humiliated. She had done very well at school, but 
there were some things she could not understand. She could 
not understand anyone in their senses saying such a thing as 
Hannibal had said. She lived in an En^and which of all the 
Englands known to man is immune from criticism, tlie England 
of the Middle Classes. This England is told, day in and day 
out, that they do the work, fight the battles, pay the taxes, up- 
hold the Flag, and maintain the kingdom of God at a time when 
lords and wage-earners are fallen away. They do not strike 
and throw the nation into the periodical paroxysms that are '" so 
bad for trade." They do not congest the Divorce Courts with 
the muck and garbage of their undisciplined concupiscence. 
They are respectable. In their orderly millions they fill their 
microscopic destinies and their tombs. Those who would smile, 
let them look well into this matter ! 

Amelia Brown was aware instinctively of the titanic weight 
of class-consciousness behind her. She and her kind valued their 
conception of the conduct of life as the goal towards which 
others aimed but never reached. The idea that there might be a 
side of the question which she could not see did not occur to 
her as she stood watching him. And she saw him, as she thought, 
humbled and without a word to say for himself. 

" It's gettin' to be a habit with you," she went on as he did 
not speak. " It isn't as if you were that smart you could 
afford to be saucy. You were half asleep just now." 

" No," he said, lifting his hand in gentle deprecation. " Not 
'alf asleep. Only thinkin'." 

" Not thinkin' of anything to put money in your pocket." 



Sie CASUALS OF THE SEA 

To ber sarprise be lifted his head and lodged at her with a 
quiet eye. 

" No," he agreed, " it wasn't. You're quite right there." 

She put up her hands and took off her hat with an irritable 
movement. 

" I can see what it is. I'll have to do it all/' she muttered, 
as though in conclusion to some previous train of embittered 
thought. " I don't see why you couldn't bring your dinner with 
you," she went on, reverting to the moment. '^Aunt Mary 
could have something hot for you at night That's what John 
does." 

Hannibal seemed impressed with John's habits. 

" Ah," he said, " I might do that certainly." 

She looked at him curiously. 

" You're sensible enough now," she told him. '' Go and get 
your dinner. I want to get back to mother." 

Obediently he took his cap and stepped to the door. He 
paused for a moment as though he was going to speak. He 
even turned towards her, looked up at the ceiling, and then, 
laughing gently, went out. 

And never went back. 



XI 

THE Caryatid, in ballast^ was steaming down the river at 
half-speedy and Hannibal^ after the most strenuous 
twenty-four hours of his life^ was leaning over the bul- 
warks and watching tlie coast-line slide ever away 
from him. He was at sea. He could feel the beat of the en- 
gines down below him^ the rattle of the rudder-cliains in the 
wheel-house^ the occasional deep clang of the telegraph as the 
pilot altered her speed to slow or fast^ after the manner of pilots. 
Far below him the turbid waters of the Thames received the out- 
pouring discharge water from the pumps^ great curved cataracts 
of yellowish foam. It was evening, and the City lay behind them 
wrapped in crimson and purple gauze as the sunset strove to 
pierce the great pall that hangs for ever over London. 

Hannibal took a long breath as he looked out over the Essex 
flats and tried to fix those grey distances, those mist-blurred 
forms of chinmey and tower, in his memory. And a breeze 
with a tang of salt in it came up the river nnd ruffled his damp 
hair deliciously. He turned away with a feeling of triumph in 
his heart. He had done it at last, done something on his own, 
something, moreover, that was unheard of among the Browns, 
something disreputable. He had run away to sea. Certainly 
there had been a great deal of red tape about that signing on 
in the Shipping Office, but for all that the essential vagabondage 
was there. He had no doubt that Amy was finished with him 
for ever. What a base trick he had played upon her. To go 
away without a word, to leave her to look after her own shop. 
Was there ever a more diabolically ingenious scheme to wring 
the Brown withers? He tried to imagine her there in the shop 
the previous afternoon waiting, waiting. • . . 

They were all busy on deck coiling up ropes and putting on 
tarpaulins, and Hannibal went along the alley way to his room 
on the port side which he shared with another lad who was 
" on deck." He wanted to think out how it had all come about. 
And indeed he had a great deal to think of. For when he had 

reached home the night before, his mother had confronted him 

817 



818 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

with a pale drawn face^ and over his mother's shoulder he 
had seen another face^ a face framed in a large hat, with steadj 
dark blue eyes and slightly smiling mouthy the face of his sister. 
And when his mother had said^ " Hanny^ this is Minnie^" be 
had said^ " UIlo^" as though they had parted the day before. 

" You've grown/' she told him^ and then had taken but little 
notice of him. Evidently he had come in upon a scene. He 
could not gather a great deal of it, but it referred to a plan 
Minnie had suggested. His mother would have none of it at 
first Minnie was going to marry someone she had met abroad. 
They were to be married — he remembered Minnie laid great 
stress on that — and then he was going abroad again^ and she 
was going to live in a flat off the King's Road^ Chelsea. Hanni- 
bal gathered that the difficulty lay in his mother's doubt of 
this story. For Minnie suggested that her mother should come 
and live with her, and Mrs. Gooderich^ with an unusual imagina- 
tion^ pictured herself being lured into countenancing a menage 
which was not respectable. 

It is easy to make fun of Mrs. Gooderich and her ball-fringe 
morality; but to her it was not funny^ it was not trivial. To 
her it was the very plinth of her life. She might be poor and 
stupid and shiftless. She miglit be only a sort of glorified 
charwoman^ but she would fight like a tigress for that thing 
she had so nearly forfeited years ago. She had never forgotten 
during the long dragging years of wifehood^ that her husband 
had lifted her from tlie nameless women. But she waited in 
vain for any note of gratitude in her daughter's voice. Minnie 
seemed to feel she was conferring a favour upon this man whom 
she had met abroad. Mrs. Gooderich could not understand 
that. She could not understand why there should be so much 
going away in her daughter's life. 'There was a certain quality 
in Mrs. Gooderich's mind which an electrician would call re- 
sistance. She possessed sufficient conductivity to carry the ordi- 
nary current of her life^ but these critical moments of high 
tension were full of difficulty. I think it was this resistance 
which roused Minnie to irony, and gave Hannibal an uneasy 
feeling that there was what he called " A row on." He was 
disconcerted, for he wanted to explode his own bomb. He 
wanted to tell his mother he had run away from the Little 
Brown Box. But since he had come in about his usual time bia 
mother had not given him a chance. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 319 

He had made his chance^ however, end he had had the 

satisfaction of making them both look at him very intently 

indeed. He was quite unaware of the fact that this ability to 

-make people look hard at you is one of the most highly-priased 

faculties in the world. 

"Old lady/' he had interrupted, "why don't you? You'll 
be all alone 'ere, 'cause I'm goin' away now." 

" You ! " 

" Ah, I 'eard of a job and went down to see the ship and I 
got it Three pound a month and all found. You'd better 
go to Minnie." 

"A ship, Hanny?" Minnie had asked. 

"Ah, a steamer — the Caryatid." 

" The Cary — / ** Mother and son were looking at each other, 
and did not see Minnie put her knuckles to her lips and draw 
back as if to avoid a blow. 

"What are you going as?" Minnie now asked, arranging 
her draperies as she sat on the chair by the window. And he 
had told her and watched her face assume its usual expression 
of cool composure. 

Mrs. Gooderich had sat looking at her son, too dazed to 
straighten out her tangled ideas. It was staggering enough to 
have Minnie come back. But to have, on top of that, Hannibal 
going away, was too much for her frayed intellect. She sat 
there struggling in vain to comprehend it. 

And we're sailin' to-morrow," he had informed her. 
What did Amy say?" she managed to ask him, and her 
horror when he confessed that he had not told Amy about his 
intention was manifest and acute. Brother and sister looked at 
each other. Evidently what Amy would say was of importance 
to their mother. Unconsciously they behaved as Ethel and 
Amelia had behaved towards the elder woman who sat with her 
chin in her hand. What was she to do? All her fair plans for 
her boy's future were to be shoved aside. He was going on 
his own. In spite of herself she felt a weight of responsibility 
lifted from her shoulders. Then there remained Minnie. How 
familiar it seemed, to have to consider Minnie's existence! But 
now it was Minnie who was in the wrong. Surely, surely Minnie 
was in the wrong. And yet, as she groped freely among the 
facts, she began to wonder why it was Minnie did not behave 
as a prodigal daughter should. She did nothing of the kind. 



<« 



S20 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

She sat there with her nice clothes^ her carefully manicured nails^ 
her pale delicate face, and exhaling a perfume that filled the 
room and added to her mother's dismay. There was nothing in 
her attitude to indicate contrition or even maidenly alarm at her 
approaching nuptials. And here she was calmly suggesting that 
her mother would translate herself from her lowly casual con- 
dition and come and live with her. As in a dream she heard the 
clear voice expounding a philosophy from which she shrank. 
" What good has Uncle George done you, anyhow, mother? 
An honest living ! And he our uncle ! He ought to be ashamed 
of himself. He sends his own wife to Bournemouth and gives 
yon an office-cleaning job. . • • I don't care. You tell me I've 
cut myself off from you. That's all rubbish. I simply went 
my own way to make a living without asking help from Uncle 
George or anybody else. I've done it, too, and how much worse 
am I than many a married woman who hasn't any excuse? A 
lot I care for what they think. A woman like Marie Letellier is 
worth fifty of them. So am I for that matter. I must say 
you're very hard to satisfy, mother. I sent you money, and 
you sent it back. That's your own affair. Now I come and 
offer you a home independent of Uncle George and liis crew, 
and you tell me I'm not respectable. H'm! You're as bad 
as the man I'm going to marry. His relations have had him 
under their thumb all his life." 

And then Mrs. Gooderich had tried to tell her daughter of 
that early time, that terrible time when she had gone home in 
shame and silence to bear a nameless child, but she had failed, 
had wandered away into other matters, so that Minnie had 
lost patience and said: "Mother, listen. I've got my own 
reason for not telling you who it is I'm going to marry. The 
reason is I've learned to make quite sure of things before I 
count on them. For some time back I've been with Marie 
Letellier, and I've been earning my living sewing. I'm not 
much use at that, never was, and I can only just manage it. 
I've done that because — well, because he asked me to. I don't 
quite know how to explain why I like him, but I do. He's 
genuine, as far as his relations let him. He — he gave his own 
name and address, and I didn't. But when I'm married he's 
going to give me half-pay to keep house with, and tliat's twelve 
pounds a month. And as he'll be away a good deal, I want 
you to live with me. I can tell you this: he's in a good 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S21 



profession, and he wouldn't touch a builder with his umbrella." 

"It's not ?" Mrs. Gooderich had begun. 

" Noy it's not/' Minnie had replied. ** He went a long time 
ago. He's Sir Anthony now. Don't talk about him. We went 
our own ways." 

And then Hannibal had come in with his bomb and exploded 
it among them. He was going to sea and was sailing to-morrow. 

" The Caryatid you said ? " Minnie had asked. " How funny." 

And then he had gone on to tell her how he had seen the 
chief and got the job, how his room-mate, a sailor boy, had 
shown him round and offered to help him get some dunnage. 
And he was going to meet him at seven o'clock at Aldgate, and 
would have to hurry with his tea. The word tea had roused 
his mother. That was a side of his character to which she could 
always respond. And how curiously commonplace had been 
his parting with his sister. He had seized his cap and turned to 
her irresolutely, and she had nodded over her teacup and said, 
" Be a good boy on the Caryatid, Hanny." And he had gone 
out and hurried to Aldgate to meet his new chum, who took 
him to a shop where he had ordered a blanket and a bolster and 
a sailor's bag. He had been so full of his own affairs he had 
almost forgotten Minnie by the time he had got back to Jubilee 
Street once again. His mother, her face grey in the lamplight, 
had confronted him. Amelia had been, Amelia with thin lips 
and a bright spot in each cheek, Amelia refusing to sit down, 
so that her cousin Minnie had been able to sit with her back to 
the light and look her over at her leisure. Mrs. Gooderich's 
insulation had almost broken down altogether, so tense had 
been the encounter. She had wrung her hands and blamed 

herself, to which Amelia would not agree. But ! She had 

gone again, coldly, had promised to write, but it was all over. 
Mrs. Gooderich was sure she need never look to Kennington 
again. 

And Minnie's cool, clear enunciation had cut into her be- 
wailing like a sword through flesh. " Can't you see, mother, 
they only want to make a convenience of you? I suppose 
Hanny 's been working for her for half the wages of a stranger. 
Engaged? Rubbish! Wliat if tliey have been walking out? 
Mother, you're a hopeless fossil. Girls get engaged three times 
a month nowadays. It gives them a tliriU, silly fools. Engage- 
ment's nothing." 



Sii CASUALS OF THE SEA 






But she feels it ! " Mrs. Gooderich had protested. 
I daresay. Gave her a nasty jolt, finding out all of a sud- 
den he'd slipped." And then seeing the spasm in her mother's 
face she had relented: " Well, anyway, I believe Hanny'll do 
better if he starts out on his own like this than sticking to the 
Browns. Good Lord, mother, he isn't going to commit mur- 
der ! " 

" It's a wild life/' his mother had whimpered. 

"Oh, it is, is it? I could tell you something about it if I 
liked. Mother, I'm going to marry a sea-captain. There! 
Now are you satisfied? That's why he's to be away so much." 

The mother's universe had been tottering for some time, and 
then it nearly capsized. She had thanked God with many 
tears that a working man had deigned to marry her and give her 
a name, and yet here was Minnie triumphantly closing her career 
of shame by wedding a professional man. 

"And you want me to live with you?" she had queried, 
after Amelia had faded away. 

" After we are married, and you shall have the certificate if 
you like," said Minnie emphatically. " I don't know whether 
you will understand me, but if there's one thing I hate more 
than being suspected of something I haven't done, it's being 
forgiven for something I have done. So don't let's have any 
fuss. The ship is going to Swansea, and if we can't get married 
to-morrow, he'll come back next week from Swansea. That's 
why I'm not anxious to blab. He may be drowned, he may be 
killed in a railway accident, he may drop dead, he may change 
his mind and I'll never see him again. You can't tell you've 
got a man until the papers are signed. I've seen too much of 
woman's sweet trusting nature and man's noble habits to have 
any illusions about them ! " 

"You'd never listen to anythin' I was to say," Mrs. Goode- 
rich had remarked forlornly, and the exquisitely dressed creature 
had risen and come over to her. " There's no need to worry 
over that, mother. I've learned a good deal in the last three 
or four years, and if I can't take care of myself, I'm sure 
you won't be able to help me. I suppose " — here Minnie had 
laughed — " I suppose you think because I'm well dressed and 
use scent I'm a helpless sort of woman. Think, mother, think. 
I may be a rogue, I may be a fool; I can't be both. I'm not a 
fool for makinj^ you this ofi^er, am I? I do it because you arc 



CASUALS OF THE SEA MS 

my mother^ however much we differ^ because you ought to rest 
now^ and, most of all^ because I hate the Browns and want you 
to be quit of them. Mother^ do! Do the same as Hanny has 
done. Don't go to these offices any more. Just don't go. Let 
Uncle George explain it as he likes and be danmed to him ! " 
In her excitement^ all the more terrible because it Was so rare, 
she had clutched her mother's shoulder^ and her mother had 
flinched from the pain of fL And then recovering herself^ 
powdering her face in a little mirror drawn from her bag^ she 
had smiled again and kissed her mother. 

** I'll let you know as soon as I can/' she had said^ and so had 
gone into the night, firing the respectable curiosity of the Bo- 
hemian family behind their curtains. 

It had certainly cleared the air, for when Hannibal returned 
his mother had made up her mind to do something. It was as 
though the chambers of her mind had been swept by a mighty 
rushing wind which had cleared out the accumulated detritus 
of the years, and left her wan and reluctantly sane. It was not 
in her nature to do what Minnie had urged : to drop her brother- 
in-law and his employment. She would have to retire by easy 
stages. But to have inured her mind to two such revolutionary 
ideas in one evening, to desert Mr. Brown and permit Hanny to 
go to sea — no wonder her face was grey and drawn when Hanny 
returned to supper. 

He had had a momentary panic, he remembered, when he 
had learned that Amelia had put in an appearance. But his 
mother's news that Minnie was going to marry a sea-captain 
drove out all thought of the Brown family. That was very 
curious indeed. Fancy Minnie doing that. But even Minnie, 
dominant as she was, did not hold him long. He was hungry, 
he had made a new chum, he was to be on board the ship at 
five o'clock the next morning. A youth of eighteen recks little 
of his sister's affairs in such circumstances. 

" Five o'clock ! " Mrs. Gooderich had echoed blankly. ** I'll 
never get you up before six." But she had forgotten that the 
tense excitement of the adventure would keep him floating on 
the very edge of slumber all night, and indeed he was on his 
feet soon after three that morning, padding round in his bare 
feet and knocking dishes over in his nervous anxiety to save her 
trouble. She asked him when he was coming back, having 
years of separation in her mind; and when he said he didn't 



SU CASUALS OF THE SEA 

know, as the ship had no orders yet^ she looked grave and 
piteously lonely in the twilight of the passage. So he remem- 
bered her now as he sat in his berth listening to the thud of the 
engines and the boots clouting on the deck over his head, a 
grey-faced old woman in a yellow flannel wrapper with her 
hands on his breast. He remembered with a feeling of almost 
uneasy shame how he had towered over her, his bmidle of 
clothes in his hand, how, when he had gone out and closed the 
gate, he had looked back and seen her peering from behind the 
door, a bewildered pathetic flgure. 

And then it had been a strenuous day indeed. He had 
reached the dock all right and got aboard, and Tonmiy, his 
new chum, had shown him where to get the things he needed. 
The cook had to be placated, an irascible man of brutally frank 
utterance and having an aversion to " new-starters " generally. 
But eventually Hannibal had made coffee and toast. and carried 
it down into the engine-room safely. That had been an ex- 
perience ! The interminable iron ladders which had to be negoti- 
ated with one hand on the polished oily rail, tlie hot oppressive 
atmosphere, the smell of oil and steam, the sound of water drop- 
ping somewhere far below, the occasional hiss and spit of a 
blowing steam-pipe, tlie shimmer of brass, the half-revealed 
glory of shining steel, the purr of the little dynamo, the lazy 
flutter of the forced-draught- fan — all these things smote his 
senses and filled him with a sort of solemn delight. This was 
indeed what he desired. This was worth while. And down 
there, too, he had encountered the man whom he understood to 
be his boss, the Second Engineer, a spare, wiry young man whose 
hair was greying at the temples, and whose eyes had crowsfeet 
in the comers. He came abruptly round from behind the en- 
gines, his singlet stained and splotched with black oil, which can 
no more be washed out than printers' ink, his greasy peaked 
cap stuck on one comer of his determined-looking head, and a 
cigarette in his mouth. " Ain't it 'ot 'ere ? " Hannibal had re- 
marked, looking in awe at the great silent engines. And the 
Second Engineer, after glancing at the thermometer, an instru- 
ment of softly glowing copper, had looked at Hannibal over the 
edge of the mug without speaking. He was not a man of many 
words, having to deal with so many crises where words are of no 
avail, and he could not express his opinion of a youth who, at 
five-tiiirty in the morning, thought a temperature of a hundred 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S25 

degrees anything extraordinary. After a sup and a bite at the 
toast he had set them down and disappeared again^ and Hannibal 
heard a clean hard burst of steam^ a choking splutter and a sudden 
jar as of something brought up standings and then^ as though 
that something had experienced a prodigious relief, a sigh, fol- 
lowed by a regular throb. How interesting it was ! He turned 
and watched the shining little engine that drove the djmamo, 
and saw the blue fire that snapped now and again from the 
brushes. This was indeed the heart of things. And then the 
Second Engineer reappeared, summoned by the whir of the 
telephone-bell, and he spoke in a low voice to someone above: 
" She's just on the sixty-mark now, sir. . . . All right, sir. . . . 
It's eased back quarter turn, sir. . • . All right, sir. Just begun 
circulation. . . . Quite cold, sir. . . . L.P.'s warmin', though. 
. . . Yes. . . . All right, sir." And he had hung up the re- 
ceiver, and seeing Hannibal staring at the engines, had pointed 
with his thumb to the ladder, a gesture of enormous expressive- 
ness, and Hannibal had taken the hint. 

And then had come trials and difficulties, the inevitable trials 
and difficulties of those unaccustomed to tlie ways of ships. 
He felt now that he would never have got through if it had 
not been for Tommy, who told him how things were done. 
But Tommy was out on deck pulling ropes, working the winch 
(he called it " vorkln' the vinch "), running hither and thither 
at the bidding of a tall strong man, the Bosun, doing an 
amount of work out of all proportion to his size. Tommy 
could not spare the time to go everywhere with him, and so 
Hannibal had made numerous mistakes, such, for example, as 
asking the Chief where the sugar was kept, and enquiring of the 
cook the whereabouts of the tablecloth. He even committed the 
unpardonable crime of opening the Third Mate's door (quite by 
mistake, they were so alike, those doors), and inadvertently 
arousing a young man who had been ejected from Frascati's at 
twelve-thirty a.m. But in spite of these troubles, Hannibal 
felt that he was learning, and having taken off his coat and 
" started in " in earnest in the mess-room, turning out all the 
" gear," he found little difficulty in getting the breakfast. And 
then, when that was over, the dishes washed, the cloth shaken 
and folded up, the tapestry cover spread over the table, he 
had found time to pause and draw breath. After all, he had 
not done so badly. The four engineers had filed in and seated 



826 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

themselves without comment. Hannibal had looked at them 
curiousljy from tlie taciturn Chief who ate nothing, down to 
the gprimy-faced Fourth who ate everything he could reach. 
Only the Second carried on a low monologue which was intended 
for the Chief, who replied by nods. The Third, who seemed 
to suspect the Fourth of a tendency to hilarity, fixed a glassy 
eye upon the new mess-room steward and made him extremely un- 
comfortable. Hannibal hardly knew whether to out-stare him 
or turn away. The Chief had a fashion of pointing silently for 
an3rthing he wanted, which was rather disconcerting, but it was a 
glorious change from "nagging." Another thing that recon- 
ciled him was the prodigious quantity of food left over. A 
great dish of rump steak and onions swimming in gravy, a plate 
of liver and bacon, potatoes, jam, marmalade, and coffee. Evi- 
dently be would not starve. And then, when he had washed up, 
it occurred to him to go through the cupboard from which such an 
astonishing stench arose. He pulled out numerous tin boxes con- 
taining fragments of bygone loaves of bread, a piece of cheese 
rivalling the Stone Age in antiquity, a pot of jam turning rapidly 
into cockroaches, some oval cabin biscuits, a pot of marmalade 
turning into sugar, and various vessels which had at one time 
held chutney, pickled onions, sardines, ketchup, and mustard. 
The whole of this collection was alive with an army of insects 
varying in size from the huge brown cockroach to the diminutive 
black objects with many legs and enormous antennse, with wliich 
they appeared to be signalling in semaphore fashion to unseen 
battalions in the interstices of the fabric. Hannibal was not 
quite unacquainted with these uncertificated members of the 
ship's company, but he was somewhat amazed by the number of 
them. There seemed to be an illimitable supply, for no slaughter 
ever sufficed. So he carefully emptied the tins, swept the cheese, 
the crusts, the dirt, and the empties into his dust-pan, and threw 
them on the ash-heap on the bridge-deck. He had foimd a 
dirty white jacket with silver buttons such as the cabin stewards 
wore, buttons with the curious zigzag figure which appeared on 
the funnel, on the house-flag at the masthead, on some of the 
crockery, and on the badges which the mates and engineers wore 
on their caps. It was the Greek letter K and it was what Hanni- 
bal, in his ignorance, called the " Trade mark of the Firm." 

But now it was evening, the toil and excitement was over for 
a time, and he could think about it all in peace. He looked 



CASUALS OF THE SEA $27 

round his berth and felt that he would do very well there. 
In the next room were two apprentices^ young men about his 
own age^ who were now on deck with the others carrying out 
the orders of the gigantic Bosun and the Chief Mate, who was 
always whistling for someone to run up and down and do some- 
thing that had been forgotten. Once Hannibal had caught 
sight of Captain Briscoe walking to and fro on the bridge, had 
seen him pull the lanyard that ran to the great bronze whistle 
on the funnel and blow an ear-splitting blast. This was to 
warn the ferry-boat at Woolwich. Hannibal had leaned over 
the side of the boat and watched the tiny people waving on the 
ferry, and the sight made him realise what he had done. He 
was a seafaring man now, one of a class apart. Those people 
on the ferry were Browns, tiny respectable home-staying Browns, 
builders and shopkeepers. How distant they all seemed, as he 
watched the ferry slide sideways to the pier! 

He busied himself putting his gear straight, though he had 
not brought a great deal. Tommy, the omniscient Tommy, had 
advised him to buy all he wanted in Swansea, whither they were 
going to load. The previous mess-room steward had been what 
Tommy called " a dirty feller," but his " donkey's breakfast," the 
straw mattress in a case of sacking, seemed all right, and Hanni- 
bal spread his blue blanket over it and settled the pink flannel 
bolster in place. Then he stowed all his clothes away in the 
drawer. Tommy slept in the top bunk, and Hannibal noted how 
" tidy " he kept everything belonging to him. That was Tommy's 
mania, " tidiness." Hannibal was looking at the little photos on 
the bulkhead when he came in with his kid of hash and a tin of 
tea. 

" Ullo, how's things ? " he asked cheerily, and slipped off his 
sea-boots, which were all wet with washing down the bridge- 
deck. 

"Pretty fair," smiled Hannibal. "You finished .>" 

"No. I go to the veel at eight bells," replied Tommy, taking 
a knife and fork from a drawer, and seeing a puzzled look on 
his new chum*s face, he went on : " You don't know de bells, I 
s'pose? It's one bell in de dog vatch now. Quarter to eight's 
one bell too. Eight o'clock's eight bells, so's twelve and four. 
I'll show you. Hain't you bin to sea before ? " 

Hannibal shook his head. 

" I bin to sea two — nearly three years now." 



S28 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

• 

" You? 'Ow old are you, then? " 

" Fifteen and a 'alf." 

Hannibal looked at the round rosy face and clear sea-blue 
eyes in astonishment. 

" You been all round then? " And Tommy, his mouth full of 
hash, nodded. 

" You ain't English, are you? " And Tommy shook his head. 

" Amsterdammer," he said. " Don't you like Dutchmen? " 

" I never seen one before," Hannibal confessed. " I've been 
in London all me life," and he tried to imagine how life looked 
to this little seafarer who toiled so cheerfully in foreign ships 
and spoke a foreign tongue so welL ** D'you speak Dutch ? " 
he asked in wonder. Tommy nodded. 

" And German and Flemish too. I vorked as mess-room on a 
German ship three months," he said. "Dat was no no good. 
Germans gib bad grub an' bad pay." 

" What do you get here then? " 

" Three pounds, like you." 

As time went on, and especially after they had gone out of 
Swansea, Hannibal learned something of the life of his new 
chum, Drevis Noordhof, of his childhood in Amsterdam, of how 
he ran away to sea when he was thirteen, of his sufferings on 
the German steamer, so that he ran away from her in Peters- 
burg and, getting lost in the city, was found by an Englishman, 
who put him on a British ship and sent him home again. He 
learned of Tommy's " oppu," his mother's mother, who had 
brought him up, for his mother was dead and he had never 
known who his father had been. But tlie next day after they 
left London, when the Caryatid was below St. Catherine's Point, 
she began to roll, and Hannibal's interest in life vanished like the 
morning mist. 

It was in the mess-room, as he felt round among his gear 
for the tea-tilings, that the cataclysm overtook him, and he 
stumbled out on deck and over to the side in an agony of hope 
that vomiting might relieve him. The cook saw him hanging, 
limp and heaving, to the rail, and threw a rotten spud at him 
for luck, but Hannibal was past being offended. The bitter- 
ness of death, it seemed, was at hand, and each choking retch 
was like to prove his last gasp. Those who can experience sea- 
sickness in the comfort of the saloon know nothing of its terrors. 
To be compelled to do one's daily work at the same time is a 



CASUALS OF THE SEA $29 

different matter. It is no jest^ until it is all over. Weak and 
listless, Hannibal tried to make the tea and take it round. In 
the room occupied by the Third and Fourth he saw the latter 
in his pyjamas on the settee^ a pipe in his mouth, a couple of 
pillows behind him, reading Sapho, The rolling had no effect 
on him. Was it possible^ thought Hannibal, that he would ever 
be like that^ be able to loll on a settee and smoke while the 
ship lay over in this disgusting manner.^ The roll flung him 
against the alley-way stanchion and he looked down at the grey- 
blue waters of the Channel with an unutterable loathing. 

As the day advanced he grew worse, and at tea-time he 
thought he was really going to die. Only the callous gibes of 
the others reassured him. Of course, everybody had an in- 
fallible panacea for the complaint. The cook said he ought 
to drink a pint of salt water every half-hour, and Hannibal 
wondered if the man were mad as well as heartless. The Chief 
said nothing except to order him to put the racks on the table 
and leave nothing loose. The Second suggested putting a finger 
down his throat to make himself sick and get it over ; but Hanni- 
bal^ with tears in his eyes, answered that he had no difficulty in 
being sick^ and proved his words by rushing to the side and 
casting his dinner into the sea. Then the Carpenter, a tall, hard- 
featured man in enormous sea-boots that reached to his thighs, 
asked him how a little fat pork would suit him, and the young 
man's face turned ashen-grey with nausea. It was all very 
tragic and ridiculous, and when he came reeling into the mess- 
room with the potatoes falling out of the dishes, and the stew 
under his arm^ tlie juniors cackled with delight and the Chief 
made grumbling remarks about the " ballast run." 

It was dreadful to watch four men voraciously devouring a 
big meal of stew, potatoes, pork, jam, and tea, and lighting 
pipes of full-strength tobacco afterwards. It seemed inhuman, 
to him, struggling with a bucket of hot water and breaking dishes 
at every turn. The fragments slithered about the floor, and 
when he got down on his knees to look for them^ the sickness, 
came on and he had to rush out on deck. 

The sea was not really very rough, though the Caryatid 
rolled rather heavily round Land's End, but a tall ship in 
ballast is at the mercy of the slightest swells and Hannibal 
thought it very tempestuous indeed. It was good for him that 
he was compelled to go about regularly. If he bad lain down 



SSO CASUALS OF THE SEA 

as he wished he would have been relieved^ like a passenger, 
but he would have been all the longer finding his sea-legs. 
The Second knew tiiis and kept him mercilessly to his work. 
Hannibal used to watch the Chief out on the after-deck walk- 
ing to and iro, sloping his body as the ship rolled^ his pipe 
sticking out from between the upturned flaps of his pilot-coat. 
The Second would come up from below and stand near the 
engine-room door talking to the Chief as he walked, his cap 
hanging to one corner of his head, his knotted arms all smeared 
with grease, and he would look over the side now and again to 
see if the bilge-pumps were working right. 

They were in the Bristol Channel, coming up past Lundy, 
when Hannibal felt able to sit down and light a cigarette again. 
He still had a queer subdued feeling of disquietude, but the 
sickness was gone, and he had lost the horrible sensation of his 
stomach being loose inside him. The natural optimism of youth, 
aided by Tommy's cheerful conversation, took Hannibal's 
thoughts away from himself and he began to observe once 
more. He revelled in the immensity of sea and sky, the huge 
piles of tinted clouds driving before the south-westerly wind, 
billow on billow of cumulous vapour, through which the straight 
slanting rays of an invisible sun poured through like the celestial 
glory in Italian paintings. He liked the ceaseless onslaught of 
the waves against the bows, and he would watch breathlessly as 
the ship rose and fell, to see her plunge just as a swell advanced, 
and see the sheet of spray flash across the water. And the per- 
petually-recurring attacks of the defeated waves as they licked 
the sides of the ship away below, rushing along the plates, run- 
ning up strake after strake and vanishing with a vindictive slap 
— this was a source of continual delight to him. 

Tommy came down from his two-hour trick at the *' veel " 
and told him they would be in Mumble's Roads before dawn, 
and then of course he had to explain what he meant by Roads, 
which was an anchorage. Hannibal asked him what sort of 
a place Swansea was, and Tommy proclaimed it " all right, all 
right." 

*' I got a girl there ! " he informed Hannibal, who laughed. 

"You!" 

" Ah. You want a girl? Dere's mine, see? " and he showed 
Hannibal a picture-postcard with a photo of a dark young lady 
with one hand on a carved table and a panorama of tropical 



CASUALS OF THE SEA Ml 

jungle and river scenery behind her. " She's got a sister. You 
come wid me, I'll show you." 

" You got one in every port? " asked Hannibal facetiously. 

Tommy smiled as he stripped off to have a scrub. 

" Girl's all right, I reckon/' he opined, stretching, and rum- 
pling his tow-coloured hair. " This one here I like good an' 
plenty." And he plunged his arms into the basin and began to 
wash. His round little face came out dripping suds and he 
reached blindly for his towel. 

" Some of them are no dam good," he remarked, towelling 
vigorously. " One I had in Liveri)ool, over at Bootle, when the 
ship was laid up, she said she'd write to me. She didn't at all, 
and when I came back she'd got anoder feller. I 'ad one in 
Glasgow too, and she did de same. Sce.^ Dat de worst o' bein' 
a sailor-boy. Ven you're away, she get's anoder feller." 

" D'you go out with 'em ? " asked Hannibal, lying back lux- 
uriously on the settee. 

"Sure! Vat else? See? Yon get dis oder girl, de sister, 
and we'll go out to de Empire, eh?" 

" I'd'now," he replied. " I've 'ad enough of 'em." 

" What you been doin' ashore ? " Tommy asked, dragging a 
comb through his hair. 

" In a shop, a tobacconist's," replied Hannibal, blowing rings. 

" Gee-whiz ! Dat 'ud be all right ! Why the 'ell d'you come 
to sea, den." 

" I wanted to 'ave a look around." 

" It's no good, dis sort o' life, I reckon/' said Tommy, slipping 
his head through a singlet and straightening up. " People ashore 
get plenty more money 'n us/' 

" Not all found," argued Hannibal, who was beginning to see 
things. 

" Better grub, though." 

" This 'ere grub's all right. More'n I can eat." 

" You vait till we get to sea. Dis 'ere's coastin'. Vait till de 
salt meat start and de tinned stuff. One trip we went from 
Shiminoseki to Honolulu. No peas, no spuds, noding but tinned 
stuff. You vait!" 

And Tommy climbed into his bunk to have his eight-to- 
twelve sleep. Hannibal went out on deck to have a think. He 
could not quite understand how Tommy should take things so 
gaily. And yet, when he got ashore in that strange place whose 



SS2 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

lights would soon be twinkling ahead, would lie not feel more 
free himself? Would not the romance of youth surge in him 
and tempt him to see the light in women's eyea} He was away 
now. He was, in the eyes of the Brown family, a scapegrace, 
a defaulter, a youthful prodigaL He would have to live up to 
the character. His eyea danced as he thought of the possibili- 
ties before him. Even now, the voyage scarcely begun, he had 
nearly half a month's pay in hand, — twenty-seven shillings. 
Of course, he would have to lay in a sea-stock in Swansea, as 
Tommy had told him ; but even tlien he would have some money 
to " blow." He stood with the wind ruffling his hair, watching 
the light on Lundy Island dying away behind them. The tide 
was on the turn now, and the quick thud-thud of the engines 
came up to him more faintly now that tliey were in slack water. 
Up on the bridge dark forms flitted to and fro, and every now 
and then the Mate's whistle shrilled through the night air and a 
sailor would hurry aft with a lantern to look at the patent log. 

It was four-thirty in the morning when the cook dug him 
in the ribs and he rolled out on the floor, rubbing his eyes. 
The electric bulb glowed in the ceiling, a towel wrapped round it 
to screen the light from penetrating Tommy's curtains, where he 
lay in the profound slumber of those who keep the middle- 
watch. Hannibal scrambled into his clothes and hurried out 
on the deck. They were going in. Just ahead he could see 
the deep red light that marked the entrance to the lock-channeL 
Rubbing his eyes, he took his cofl*ee-pot to the galley. The 
junior apprentice, a freckled young man with a jaw that receded 
into his thick woollen comforter, was standing in the galley, 
talking to the cook. 

" Is that a fact? " asked the cook, as Hannibal lifted the dipper 
from the hook. 

"The Third Mate swears blind it is," said the apprentice. 
*' I heard him tellln' Mr. Brail. Saw the old man comin' out of 
Frascati's with her last night before we come away. So he 
followed and ran against him accident'ly for the purpose. Yea 
know Mr. Cadoxton." 

"He's certainly got the gall," assented tlie cook, searching 
among his utensils. 

"Well, he apologised and all that, and the Old Man, who 
scarcely knows Cadoxton yet by sight, seeing he only joined him* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S8S 

self last week^ nps and introduces him. I reckon the Old Man 
was a bit on, you know." 

" Frascati's ! " said tiie cook^ throwing up his eyes to heaven 
as though he had been a sad dog there in the past. 

" Well, the Old Man ups and introduces him — ' Mister — cr/ 
and Cadoxton prompts liim a bit — ' Mister Cadoxton, my future 
wife.' And the Third Mate savs chin-chin, and shakes hands 
with her. A peach, the Third Mate says." 

" And she's comin' the trip ? " asked the cook, passing out 
a great schooner of coffee to a fireman. 

" So the Third Mate says. He savs the Old Man told 'em 

• « 

at the Cabin Table he was goin' up to London on business, and 
the Mate said something about the Old Man tellin* him he wouldn't 
be back for several days. I shouldn't wonder." 

" I don't like women on the ship," growled the cook. '* It's 
all sorts of extry work for the Steward, and that means more 
for me too." 

"Well," remarked the junior apprentice, "there it is. The 
Mate knows more than he lets on. We shall see to-day, very 
likely." 

Hannibal went out and made the coffee. The Chief was 
passing up and down in his thick pilot-coat, and said to him as 
he passed: 

" Make coffee for all, boy. They're down below." 

He went back and toasted four big slices of bread as he had 
been told by the Second. This time he saw the senior apprentice 
standing by the galley door, talking furtively to tliose within. 

" I was talkin' to Mr. Cadoxton just now when I left the 
wheel," he said, " and he told me he could swear blind he's 
seen her or her picture somewhere. He's tryin' to think. He's 
goin' to turn over his letters. Anyhow, he's sure it's some time 
since she left the infant school." 

" He's no chicken, the Old Man," remarked the junior ap- 
prentice. 

" He's all right. Don't come interferin' with the work on 
deck. Yes, sir ! " he howled, and darted away to where the Sec- 
ond Mate, a rotund little man in uniform, was standing by some 
ropes. 

" Tod always thinks he gets exclusive information out of the 
Third Mate," said the junior apprentice in some indignation. 



984, CASUALS OF THE SEA 






He's next 'im/' said the cook significantly. 
Not in this case. I heard the Mate say myself^ ' Mr. Cadox- 
ton^ you're making a mistake. Better not let on you've seen her 
before if tlie Old Man brings her down.' " 

" Ohf 'e said that^ did 'e^" said the cook^ chopping onions. 
" 'E knows sometliin' then." 

" His brother-in-law's Second Mate o' the Torso, tliis Old 
Man's last command^ and I'll bet my rubber boots he knows 
something. His brother-in-law lives near the Old Man's peo- 
ple." 

Hannibal ran out with his toast; buttered it^ and took it down 
the engine-room ladders to the starting-platform. The tele- 
graph clanged deep and resonant as he reached the plates^ and 
he saw the Second throw the engines into gear with a lightning 
twist of his hand. The Fourth was standing by the handle 
of the great enamelled dial where the peremptory finger was 
pointing to ** Slow Ahead." The Third strolled to and fro on 
the middle grating, feeling here and there, a cigarette hanging 
to his lower lip, and a spanner in his hand. Suddenly, just as 
Hannibal set down the steaming cups on the vice-bench, the 
gong went again, tliis time with a shrill poignant clangour that 
drove the blood back to one's heart. The pointer had swung 
round to " Full Astern." With a turn of his hand the Second 
sent the reversing engine flying round, the huge links of the 
main valve-gear slid over to position, the cranks paused, trem- 
bled, and then sprang to tlielr work as though whipped into 
activity by some invisible titanic hand. With infinite aplomb 
the Third leaned over the shining hand-rails feeling the plung- 
ing masses of metal as they flew up and down; the Second eyed 
the gauges and beckoned to the Fourth. Hannibal stepped up to 
him as he began to speak. 

" Coffee, sir? " said he above the rush and thud of the engines. 

"All right. What was that about the Old Man. Goin' to 
get married?" said the Second, addressing the Fourth and 
spitting into the high-pressure crank-pit. 

" The Third Mate's got a yarn about meetin' him in Fras- 
cati's the other night," said the Fourth, opening a drain-cock 
to ease the water hammer in the low-pressure cylinder. " Tony 
lot, they mates! As a matter of fact, I was in the cabin this 
afternoon askin' the Old Man about my half-pay note, and be 
was writin' the address on a letter." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA SS5 



•'An' you saw it?" 

" Ay ! Miss Gooderich. He writes plain enough, you ken. 
I didn' have time to 8(K>t the address. S. W. anyway. Thai's 
London, is it not? " he addressed Hannibal, who was standing 
with a curious look of amazement on his face. 

" Ah/' he assented with a nod. " Sou'-west that is." 

''And he put sealin' wax on the back,'* added tiie Fourth, 
reaching up and handing the Third an oil-feeder. " Sliall a 
book it ? " he asked, breaking off, and when the Second nodded 
be wrote on the log board. " And then he pushed his ring on 
it and stamped it. It was her all right, all right" 

" An* Cadoxton don't know you know it ? " 

" Na. He knows it all, does Cadoxton, him and his Fras- 
cati's! What's a sailor-man doin' to Frascati's, anyway? 
Gatti*s was always good enough for me when I was in t' Castle 
Line." 

" His ma has means," sniffed the Second* eyeing the tele- 
graph. " Surely we're backing into Port Talbot? " 

" 'Tis to swing her," said the Fourth. " She's like a brewer's 
lorry to swing. Full ahead, she is ! " he shouted as the deep 
mellow ahead gong gave out its warning note, and answered. 

" He'll be takin' her tlie trip," vociferated tlie Second, as 
a £reman entered and signalled expressively for the fan to go 
faster. The Second nodded. 

" Maybe! Easy ! Slow ahead," chanted the Fourth, writing 
on the log board. " Shell be waitin' of us in tlie Prince o' 
Wales Dock." 

" Mess ! " called the Second to Hannibal, who was still stand- 
ing trying to get the hang of tliis tremendous affair. " Do you 
go up and ask the Chief to speak down, will you? Savvy?" 

Hannibal roused and nodded. 

" Yes, sir," and he climbed up toward the dawn. 

When he had told the Chief, who ran to his telephone and 
spoke to the Second, the Caryatid was safely through the dock 
gates and she was being swung round to move up to her berth 
under the coal-tips, huge latticed structures with pale lights on 
their upper cabins, their shoots drawn up and pointing to tiie 
delicate blue sky, stark emblems of utility deriding the assure. 
All around were sleeping steamers, their galley lights winking 
in the twilight, the huddled figures of night-watchmen leaning 
over their bulwarks, observing tiie new-comer with the insatiable 



836 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

curiosity of tlie sea. A small boat^ loaded with a hawser and 
propelled by a stern-oar, waggled to tlie dock wall and made 
fast. T!ie Caryatid's forecastle-liead vibrated with the working 
of the windlass. With ceaseless industry the sailors ran to and 
fro on the decks. At intervals the lium was torn by a short 
blast from the whistle or the far-oif chaffering of megaphones. 
Slowly, slowly the tall hull drew in to her appointed berth 
beneath the silent tip. The telegraph orders grew less fre- 
quent. Witli a tliuttering roar the safety valves lifted and a 
billow of white steam flew from the 'opper waste-pipe on the 
funnel. Now and again Hannibal saw the Old Man waving to 
the Second Mate on tlie poop, saw the Third Mate at the Old 
Man's elbow discussing sometliing. Men api>eared on tlie quay, 
men in blue uniforms, men in black coal-grimed apparel, men in 
new serge suits. Tlie red disc of tlie sun rose up above the 
hills and flooded the port with tlie light of a ^lay morning. 
Birds sang under the eaves of the weigliing-houses and flew 
across the railway sidings, and sea-gulls, gossiping on the buoys 
or perched in solitary grandeur on tlie trucks of tlie sailing ships, 
viewed witli easy familiarity the advent of the Caryatid. At 
length the stern ropes were made fast, the blue-uniformed man 
on the quay cocked his eye to tlie bridge, calculating the chances 
of coomshaw from the skipper, the gangway, urged by twenty 
willing hands, slid over the bulwarks and down to the black 
earth, the drum of alien heels sounded on her decks, and tlie 
bridge, so authoritative, so omnipotently urgent a moment since, 
was silent. She was no longer a sentient thing in tlie sea, she 
was become but a line in the shipping news, a factor on the Ex- 
change. There she had not even a name, she was 8imi)1y a semi- 
hypothetical capacity, " 8000 tons. Las Palmas, 8s. 3d.," a bucket 
in the endless distribution chain that creeps across the world. 
Hannibal, busily laying the table for breakfast, wondered 
after all why he should feel so excited over the news that 
had come to his ears. He had already enough of the sea-habit 
to be pretty sure that any amount of relationship made but 
small mark on the hard and shining discipline of the sea. And 
he was not unmindful, moreover, of* Mr. Grober*s valediction, 
to be master of himself. Poor old Mr. Grober! Hannibal was 
sorrv now he had not looked in and taken that book back. He 
thought of him now, feebly setting out his boxes of rubbishy 
books, standing by his door looking out with rheumy eyes upon 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 837 

a world wliich^ he said, was not an oyster to be opened but a 
quicksand to be passed. Surely enough ]ie had no wings, or they 
had been pulled out long ago. lie would sit in his dusty shop, 
his pi])e in Iiis mouth, his spectacles on his nose, slowly reading 
a dead book, slowly sinking into the sand. . . • 

That was not to be his way, Hannibal thought fiercely, clatter- 
ing the cui)S and saucers. No fear! He was not going to be 
•* sucked in," as Mr. Grober had phrased it. As for this astonish- 
ing information which had come to him so fortuitously, he was 
going to be his own boss and earn his living independent of 
anybody. He knew now, though, why Minnie had said *' Be 
a good boy on the Caryatid,'* She knew this! But what did it 
matter? The Old Man was the Old ^lan certainly, but he had 
no truck with the engineers' department. Hannibal, going over 
the matter in the cool light of morning, decided that his freedom 

of soul was unimpaired. If it had been the Browns, now ! 

But that was grotesque in its impossibility. As he carried the 
porridge in from the galley he laughed in sheer light-hearted 
conviction that he had nothing more to fear from the Browns. 
He would do his day's work and go ashore, oblivious of Minnies 
and Skipi>ers and Amelias, go with Master Drevis NoordhofT 
and investigate, in imi)artial s])irit, the world, the flesh, and the 
devil. He would have no more shilly-shally, this piddling game 
of hanging like a puppy to its mother's dugs. He would go out 
and see for himself. Was he not a man, a seaman in the British 
Mercantile Marine, with a number and registered rating? Had 
he not come into direct conflict with organised government, 
looking a supercilious shipping-clerk in the eye and taking a 
neatly-stamped advance-note from the hand of the gilded creature 
who wrote tliem out on that polished mahogany counter? Had 
he not gone down into the depths and prayed for dissoluUon in 
the agony of sea-sickness? What were the petty details of 
domestic life to him, lord of himself and a twelve by fourteen 
mess-room? He was almost hilarious when he hastened round 
to call the engineers to breakfast. 

"What's the matter? Somebody died an' left vou a farm?'* 
asked the Second, mildly surprised at Hannibal's genial face. 

"Wife got twins?" enquired the Fourth, looking between his 
legs as he washed in a bucket in the alley-way. 

Hannibal laughed. 

"There's nobody dead!" he laughed; and the Third, fixing 



S38 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

lilm with a glassy stare, a stare that concealed a violently roman- 
tic soul, remarked, " He must be in love." 

" He wouldn't grin if he was in love," said the Second, hunt- 
ing for a clean shirt. " I was in love once, and it was rotten. 
Ever been in love, Tich ? " 

'* I'm goin' to get a grip of her waist to-night," said the 
Third. "Spink!" he addressed the stooping Fourth. "It's 
your night aboard, me bonny laddie, d'ye ken tliat } " 

'* Don't you be so free wi* your niglits aboard," growled the 
Fourth. " Tm goin* to ask the Chief for an exemption, it bcin' 
a home port." 

" You in love, too ? " enquired the Second, locking the door. 
" Boys will be boys! Don't keep the Chief waiting for his grub." 

At breakfast the main tlieme of conversation, tlie tiieme wliich 
was vibrating in every department of the ship, from the Cliief 
Mate's berth to the lazarette where the cook was cutting up 
joints, overrode the minor topics of the casual loves of the sea* 
Even the doiir Chief, nibbling his toast and sipping his tea, for 
he was a victim of dyspepsia brought on by early carousing, made 
sundry disjointed references to the rumours afloat. Mr. Spink, 
devastating a trencher of steak and onions, contributed his own 
precious tid-bit to the news, a tid-bit undeniably confirming the 
general impression. Hannibal listened, but forl)ore to speak. 
The knowledge that he might give their curiosity a perfectly 
unendurable fillip amused him, but he felt quite unable to cope 
with the ensuing situation, and so refrained. 

" Mate's got an idea's somcthin' fishy in it," the Chief mur- 
mured, looking into his tea with profound distrust. 

" Cabin talk, a reckon," said the Second with his mouth full. 
" Cadoxton had his foot on tlie rail in London and he wants us 
to know it D'you reckon she'll be comin' the trip then, sir?" 

The Chief looked round as though lost in an uncongenial mase 
of psychological problems. And in truth he was in no wise 
competent to grapple with either drama or romance. 

" I conld'na say," he murmured softly, pointing to the butter, 
and Hannibal moved it towards him hastily. " Better let the 
Fourth put a new rubber in the deck reducin' valve, eh.^ I 
heard it pop this morning." 

The Second cast a sidelong look of surprise at the Chief, 
who was always surprising him by unexpected knowledge. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA SS9 



" Aye/' he said, digging at the butter. " 111 let him all right, 
aU right" 

"An' the Third can help him/' droned the Chief discon- 
tentedly. " I'd like you to go through the bunkers this mornin'." 

The Third fixed his eye on the cruet and tried to ignore the 
exquisite agony of the kicks of the joyful Spink. 

" Is Mrs. Hopkins comin' down this time ? " enquired the 
Second, waiving tlie bunkers as an unsuitable subject for the 
table. The Chief nodded and passed his cup to HannibaL 

" So a believe/* he returned. 

" I should a thought you'd a fetched her to London." 

" Too far. Didn't care to ask the Old Man. Bachelor skip- 
pers don't carry women round the coast." 

" The Mate says his brother-in-law's Mate o' the Torso, where 
this Old Man was/' began the Fourth, who had been talking to 
the senior apprentice before breakfast. 

" Ay, so I heard/' commented the Chief coldly, and so shut 
him up. 

•* That's a fact, sir/' urged the Second, unabashed by the 
Fourth's discomfiture. " They both belong to Sliields, you see, 
and from the yam, this Old Man has no particular objections 
to women on the ship. Anyway, he's goin' to do himself in 



now." 



The Chief stirred his second cup of tea sombrely. 
" Forget it ! " he muttered. " You'll get caught some day." 
And Mr. Spink, spreading marmalade with a liberality that 
would have given the owners cold shivers, giggled. 



XII 

FREK of the numbing paralysis of Billiter Lane and 
Jubilee Street, free of the day's work on the ship, Han- 
nibal selected a clean collar, brushed his clothes, 
lighted a cigarette, and accompanied Master Drevis 
Noordhoff, ordinary seaman and cheerful optimist, ashore. They 
wound their way along the dock side, debouclied upon the Port 
Tennant Road, crossed the North Dock, and passing under the 
railway arch ascended Wind Street, Tommy lightening the way 
with chatter of his many experiences in distant lands. Hannibal 
listened abstractedly, his eyes wandering up and down, taking 
in the novel details of foreign aspect. At the top in Castle 
Square a crowd were gathered about a young lady who was sing- 
ing a hymn. 

" Sally's Army ! " remarked Hannibal, sniffing. 

" No good to me," said Tommy, brushing past. 

" Where will you go when you die? " asked Hannibal, shocked 
that one so young should be irreligious. 

" In a box," replied the boy promptly, and Hannibal's smile 
died away. He thought of th6 Little Brown Box from which 
he had escaped, and shuddered. 

" That ain't tlie end," he protested uneasily. 

"You can search me then!" said Tommy joyously, and led 
the way along Castle Street, which was narrow and populous in 
those days, a congested artery leading to the freer air of High 
Street and beyond. Suddenly the boy turned into a sweet-shop 
and rolled sailorwise up to the counter. A fluffy, dark-haired 
vision rose up and simpered. 

It was an edifying spectacle. All the worthy gentlemen, from 
Cobbett and Ruskin onwards, who have prescribed early matri- 
mony, would have purred with delight had they seen that en- 
counter among the candy. Hannibal watched them from the 
entrance. He was meditating flight. But Tommy, with a grin 
of delight, turned and beckoned vigorously, and Hannibal came 
unwillingly to the front. 

" Dis is my gel," he whispered. " Friend o* mine/* b^ told 

840 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 841 

the fluffy joung lady^ who laid her head on one side and held 
out her hand. She must have been at least fourteen. 

** Wliere's de sister^ Girtie. My friend 'e wants a gel, too." 

Hannibal tried to protest, but he was too weak. Girtie smiled 
gloriously into his eyes and laid her head on the other side. 

" She's goin' to the station to see a friend of hers. She's 
coming from Cardiff about a job." 

" What time train ? " asked the pertinacious Amsterdammer. 

Girtie looked down at the oxidised watch that hung on her 
blouse. 

" Seven-forty." 

" Well go and see her, eh ? Then I come back for you. You 
finish nine o'clock.^ You get my post card? " 

Girtie nodded. She had a drawer full of post cards from 
every conceivable port of the world. Wherever the Merchant 
Service had penetrated, throughout the Seven Seas, from the 
ports of the Danube and the fever-ravaged reaches of the 
Amazon, came picture post cards to Girtie. But she did not 
tell Tommy this. Girtie's success as a sailor's sweetheart rested 
in part upon her ability to make each guileless youth imagine 
himself the one chosen Jason of the Argosies. It is not an 
easily classified virtue, this innocent beguilement of the idle hours 
of wandering souls, but it implies a certain talent in the charmer. 
Very few can do it successfully year after year. Miss Bevan, 
that amazing genius of Barry Dock, raised it to a fine art. 
When she withdrew into the comparative retirement of matri- 
mony, the gaiety of the nations was eclipsed, she became a legend, 
and it is whispered that her post cards, in five hundred albums, 
are to be presented to Lloyds. Girtie in the confectioner's shop 
in the old Castle Street was but an humble follower of the greater 
light. Slie dealt, after the manner of her age, chiefly with ap- 
prentices, junior officers, and Tommy. He, at least, had that 
distinction. His artless audacitv had led him to ask her how 
she would like him in the family. She had replied at first that 
''she couldn't be dead," the Welsh girl's potent phrase. But 
Tommy was a good spender. The silver for which he toiled so 
hard on the Caryatid passed through his fingers like water when 
he was with Girtie. And Girtie smiled. Even Third Mates 
didn't run to eighteenpenny stalls at the Empire, and beribboned 
boxes of chocolates. Those who didn't bother to take her out, 
Anyway. Life to Girtie was a string on which boys were strung 



842 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

like beads. Some of them were blue^ some red^ some white. As 
yet there were none of Gold. Tommy came sliding through her 
hands at the bidding of the freiglit market which had wafted 
the Caryatid to Swansea, and being a maid of modest imagina- 
tion s]ie was content. And moreover, this solicitude to provide 
her sister with a boy was kind. Girtie felt deeply that it was 
not easy to attach Lilian to any one. Lilian was not a peach, 
she was not a genius, and she liad bad teeth. Obviously it was 
Girtie's duty to do her best for Lilian. And when Tommy pro- 
duced a well-grown young man with the full liquid brown eye, 
so dear to women, she smiled. 

" Yes, of course," she replied. " I suppose you've had a gay 
time in London whatever. You off the sliips } *' she asked Han- 
nibal, who nodded and cleared his throat. 

" It's nearly half-past seven now," he said to Tommy, who 
was stealing chocolates. 

" Come on then ? Chin-chin, Girtie," he called. " Back in a 
jiffy." 

" She's all right, eh? " he asked Hannibal, chewing. 

"Is her sister older .^" Hannibal wanted to know. He did 
not care for very young creatures. He was afraid of their 

** Yes, a good bit. She's all right though," he added, for 
after all, if a girl was eighteen she couldn't help it. The tone 
in which Tommy uttered his encomium, however, did not express 
any desire to deprive Hannibal of Lilian's charms. There are 
few tilings in nature more terrible to tlie middle-aged than the 
contempt which films the gaze of boys and girls when they notice 
some stiffness of ligature, some flaw in perception, some lack of 
interest in life. Tommy, in the clear healthiness of body and soul 
which was his sole heritage, was condescendingly cruel towards 
Lilian, whose complexion, compared with his, was as a used 
blotter to plate-finished Japanese paper. " She don't work in a 
shop, she lives at 'ome," he remarked. " Looks after de 'ouse. 
And Girtie say, she goes to de mission too. Tryin' to get a feller, 
I s'pect." 

Even Hannibal was not entranced by this information. 

" She's respectable, then ? " he surmised. 

" Sure thing. Here's de station, right ahead." 

They crossed the road and entered the subdued melancholy 
that seems to be inseparable from a small terminus. A train 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 34S 

appeared as tbey gained the platfonn, a creaking deliberate in- 
terminable local affair; from whose opening doors leaped some 
dozens of impatient passengers. Far up tlie platform the two 
youths saw a young woman in a large straw hat scanning the 
compartments. 

" Der she is/' said Tommy, pointing and beginning to hurry, 
but Hannibal was staring into the window nearest to liim. A 
plump young woman was trying to open the door. He stepped 
forward and twisted the handle, and she desisted^ smiling joy- 
ously. 

" Much obliged/' she said, jumping out. " I never can man- 
age the bally things." She shook herself and looked round 
shrewdly. " I'm expecting a friend o' mine/' she confided^ " but, 
as usual, she's not here. Oh, tliere she is ! " 

" We come up to meet 'er/' said Hannibal, gazing at the young 
woman admiringly. " Is 'er name Lilian? " 

" Just fancy! What a coincidence! I haven't had the pleas- 
ure, have I? I meet so many gentlemen in my business." 

" No/' said Hannibal, warming to his work. " Matter of fact, 
I don't know your friend either. My friend there, 'e's goin' to 
interdnce me. 'Er sister Girtie said she was up 'ere." 

"Oh, I see! My name's Ffitt, Eleonora Ffitt, and I don't 
care who knows it. Welsh^ and I don't care who knows that 
either. \Wiat a life! How are you, Lilian, darling?" They 
kissed vehemently, and Hannibal lost all desire to win the affec- 
tions of Lilian. He regarded Miss Ffitt with tlie frank pleasure 
so difficult to recapture in later years. 

** I was tryin* to get the door open when your friend — I 
didn't catch your name — oh, yes, Gooderich, when Mr. Goode- 
rich did the honours. How funny! Like a novel, isn't it? 
Well, Lilian, and how's the flat-iron ? You look as if you hadn't 
been out for a month. Isn't it just a peach of an evening?" 
She turned beaming to Hannibal, ** I wish I was young again 
and able to enjoy it The older we get the harder we have to 
work. Ah, well, p'raps it keeps us out of mischief. You two 
off the ships? I thought so. How do I know? Ah, that's 
telling. Get behind a bar and you can give a lady fortune-teller 
all the points and beat her. Your friend's on deck, isn't he? 
There you are again* How do I know it, indeed ! " 

So she ran on, this incomparable young woman, this queen 
of all whom Hannibal bad ever met He was entranced. This 



S44 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

was seeing life indeed, to listen to Miss Ffitt's ceaseless stream 
of kaleidoscopic prattle. If It be true that each one of us has 
In lilm or her some faint trace of tlie artist temperament, with 
but an Infinitesimal gift of expressing It, then I may say that 
Miss Ffitt expressed herself In prattle. She was an artist in 
prattle. Her mastery of tlie lights and shades of conversation 
was astounding. She could stipple away at some imaginary 
portrait of herself until It was a mere mass of dots without Vs, 
and yet you understood what she meant perfectly. She could 
work with the etching needle or in dry-point, and If another 
customer called her away she would finish the sketch hastily In 
mezzotint and leave you marvelling afresh at her versatility. 
Even after marriage, which Inevitably slackens the speed of such 
vivacious persons as Miss Ffitt, she still maintained an aston- 
ishing power of prattling. Hannibal as he listened tliought be 
would never tire of It, and as a matter of fact, he never did. 

It was not very far from tlie station to Castle Street, but it 
was sufficient for Miss Ffitt to detail her life-history down to 
the present moment, and tlie account Included a succinct rela- 
tion of the cause of her coming to Swansea, not, she Intimated, 
for her health, for she found Swansea relaxing, and Cardiff, 
though you might call It dirty, doubtful, and even disgusting In 
certain pliases, was at any rate alive, which was more than you 
could say for dear old Abertawe In the rain. Her comfortably 
pink face glowed with satisfaction as she explained that a certain 
licensed victualler needed a barmaid and was prepared to make 
her a most advantageous oflTcr. This |>crson, Snickery by name, 
was opening a temperance-house next door to his present hostelry, 
and being unable to hold the license and the new establishment as 
well, wished to strike a bargain with Miss Ffitt concerning the 
joint management. 

" He thinks/' she observed, pausing to scan the latest family 
groups in a photographer's window, " that I*m going to run his 
jam-roll shop for Iiim, I do believe. He thinks Ira going to 
wash the floors and let him deduct a halfpenny for every saucer 
we break. And Tm going to tell him," she turned to Hannibal 
like a burst of sunshine, *' I'm going to tell him I can't be dead, 
and no more at present from yours truly. Just look at that 
girl's hat, Lilian. It's like the sky-sign of a chamber of hor- 
rors.** 

Lilian, fearful of further criticism nearer home, for Miss Ffitt 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S45 

was as frank as she was good-natured^ enquired what house she 
referred to as kept by Mr. Snickery. 

" The ' Stormy Petrel,* Ryder Street, down here and turn to 
the left," Miss Ffitt replied promptly. " I must hurry, for I 
must get tlie nine-fifteen or my character is gone for ever. 

Aren't you coming? Well, good-bye, Mr. 1 didn't catch 

3'our name — that's it, Noordhoff — Irish, isn't it.^ — Give my 
love to Girtie." 

"I'll go with you, if you don't mind," said Hannibal, getting 
pleasantly red in the checks. 

" Not at all a pleasure, I assure you. Good-bye, Lilian; take 
care of the little boy." She smiled ravishingly. " I'll look in 
before I go back, of course." 

Lilian, looking over her shoulder with a serious look on her 
disdainfully plain face, nodded, and Tommy, who was familiar 
with that elusive psychological phenomenon wiiich we call 
*' fancy," waved his hand encouragingly to Hannibal. 

''Isn't he a cherub .>" asked Miss Ffitt delightedly. "He 
ought to be in a cr^he instead of walking out with that brazen 
Girtie." 

*' T's been all over the world and 'e speaks four languages," 
replied Hannibal, pushing Miss Ffitt deferentially out of the 
way of a cyclist as they crossed over. " Nice little chap, if 'e 
is a forriner." 

" And so are you," she informed him. " Here. Don't you 
know you're a foreigner in Wales? Englishmen take the Hot 
Cross Bun!" 

" Easy," protested Hannibal. " We're all under the same flag, 
ain't we?" 

"Of course, I was only joking. Anyhow, you're from Lon- 
don, aren't you? I thought so. We often have them in Cardiff, 
only they call it Cawdiff." 

" Ever been there? " he asked, reluctant to see her wit spray- 
ing over his native place. 

'' Not once. I was in Liverpool two years ago. That was 
enough. Wild Wales for me all the time." 

" I like to go about and sec places," he returned. 

'* And quite right too. That's man's work. Do a lot of these 
boys good to be chased out to see the Empire. But men must 
work and women must sweep, while the private bar is moaning. 
Here we are* The ' Stormy Petrel.' Doesn't it look tlie part? 



346 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Go in and have a drink for the good of the house while I talk 
to Mister Snickery. 1 shan't be more than a minute." 

Her neatly-shod feet tripped up the tliree steps of a private 
doorway beside a quiet-looking tavern in a quiet bye street^ 
and Hannibal^ with mingled feelings of pleasure and astonish- 
ment^ pushed open a glazed door marked Private Bar. Several 
young men in large caps and refulgent neck-wear leaned over 
the bar to catch the fairy accents of a young lady in pink who 
raised her eyes and looked at Hannibal as though he had in- 
sulted her. Meekly asking for a glass of Scotch^ he took a match 
and lit a cigarette. Slowly the habitues examined him, and he 
felt uncomfortably warm under their gaze. A touch of Minnie's 
aggressiveness under fire came to him. 

" Lost anything.^ " he enquired, projecting his jaw towards 
his silent critics. After all, he reflected, they couldn't do much 
to him. London wasn't going to be done in by a lot of Welsh 
nuts. Somewhat taken aback, they turned once more to tlieir 
little glasses of beer and left him in peace. Perhaps the whisky 
inspired their respect even more than his belligerent attitude. 
Neither their heads nor their means were yet up to the spirit 
mark. Hannibal diluted it to a genteel half and half and drank 
it down as quickly as he could. He did not want to keep Miss 
Ffitt waiting a single moment. Avoiding the barmaid's resentful 
gaze he went out again, his chin in the air, and walked up and 
down building blissful castles in the air, of which Miss Ffitt was 
the plump presiding goddess. He was quite unable to explain to 
himself why she should seem so alluring to him, and fortunately 
for himself he felt under no necessity to seek for such an expla- 
nation. Perhaps his sea-sickness had caused him to throw over- 
board the callow reluctances of early immaturity. His opening 
of that railway carriage-door was not youthful impudence, but 
genuine gallantry, perhaps the first conscious act of its kind in 
his life. I am inclined to think, however, with my foolish par- 
tiality for the lady, that Miss Ffitt, being a law to herself, 
revolving in a hilarious orbit amenable to no definition, swept 
him off his feet by the sheer buoyancy of her personality. She 
kept his fresh resilient mind on the bounce* whereas Amelia was 
continually allowing him to come to rest and then expecting 
him to leap of his own volition. As he walked up and down 
he laughed continually to himself. Wasn't she just a wonder? 
He did hope she was coming to Swansea right off. With m 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 847 

pang be remembered a rumour in the mess-room that the Caryatid 
would not be more tlian ten days in port, if that. Surely this 
most opportune meeting would lead to something more than a 
hasty farewell at the nine-fifteen? As though to chase away 
this sinister contingency^ Miss Ffitt came down the steps with a 
run and a jump and beamed upon him. 

" Sorry to keep you waiting/' she chirped^ shaking her shoulders 
in a way she had^ very much like a canary as he prepares to 
sing. " Here we are again. That's over, thank goodness ! 
Yes, it's all right. I'm starting the day after to-morrow, and 
next week we'll see what we shall see. Nice old man, Snickery. 
What do you think? He says he's changed his mind, a thing a 
man has never done before. Changed it for the better too. He's 
going to run his temperance place himself — see it with the 
whitewash on the windows ? — And I'm going to take charge of 
the ' Stormy Petrel.' What sort of angel has he got in that 
bar?" 

" 'Aughty blighter/' said Hannibalj resentfully. " Looked as 
if she wanted to bite me." 

" Poor little lamb ! Did ums ! Now, aren't some girls 
idiots? She'll wonder why she gets the office. There's a girl 
in my place in Cardiff, just the same. I know them. Any 
one 'ud think a man came into a licensed house just to get a 
drink with a scowl at the back of it. And a smile is just as 
cheap." 

" She 'ad some feUers in there/' Hannibal began loftily. 

"Worth about three half-bitters a night each. I know them 
too. And she thinks she's got the good of the house at heart 
when she lets them play the goat all the evening." 

" You goin' round to the o^er place now? " 

" Just to see Girtie dear and her mother. You see, this is 
my native. I was bom at Crwmbrla, and if you can pronounce 
it I'll give you a threepenny-bit to put on the plate on Sunday! 
Girtie was a little thing when I was at school. I'd love to go 
for a ride round to the Mumbles this evening. You ought to go 
out there." 

" With you/' he ventured. 

" It 'ud be a pleasure," she answered winningly. '* I suppose 
you'll be sailing away on the briny ocean though. Crossing the 
bar, so to speak." 

" Not before Sunday/' he assured her. 



848 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



<( * 
« 



" Lovely. And is that dear little boy with the rosy cheeks on 
your ship ? " 

''We share a room/' said Hannibal, laughing. 

** Well, I do hope you tuck him up at night. Only suppose 
he caught cold." 

£ can look after 'imself all right, all right/' said Hannibal. 

Didn't I tell you he s])eaks four languages and 'e's been at sea 
nearly three years? '£'s 'andy too. Showed me my job when 
I started." 

" I don't know what the world's coming to. It's cradle- 
robbing. All the same, I'd rather see boys go out like that 
than have them messing about at home. A boy's best friend 
is his mother when she boots him out to look after himself." 

" That's right/' agreed Hannibal. " To see the world." 

"And the Empire/' added Miss Ffittj who had a weakness 
for the Empire, and spoke of it as if it were the next station 
beyond the World. 

" Ah ! " said Hannibal, and they turned into the sweet-shop 
in Castle Street. 

"Hullo, Girtie! Mother in? How's business? Now don't 
you tell this little boy any of your saucy stories, you young 
thing. I'll just run in and say chin-chin." And Miss Ffitt ran 
round and disappeared behind the counter. 

Tommy appeared to be getting on famously, his cheeks full 
of sweets and gaiety in his eye. Lilian had disappeared. It 
was probably only a variation of Lilian's usual bad luck, to lose 
a swain. Girtie put the slightest touch of distance into her 
reception of Hannibal when he came up to the counter. 
Where been ? " asked Tommy. 

Having a drink and waiting for Miss Ffitt? " replied Hanni- 
bal. 

*' You goin' wid her/' whispered Tommy, and Hannibal nodded, 
looking at his boots. 

" We're goin' to de Empire." 

'• All right. I'll see you to-morrow." 

Hannibal had an inspiration. 

" Give me quarter of a pound of chocolates/' he said to Girtie, 
who smiled upon him again and executed the order, putting a 
redundant chocolate into her own small red mouth. 

" 'Ave another," suggested Hannibal, putting down sixpence. 
"'Ave one. Tommy?" 



« 

4t 



CASUALS OF THE SEA «49 

Every bone in Tommy's head was working already^ bat he 
made room for a lump of chocolate ginger the size of a walnut. 

" No/' said Hannibal^ in answer to Tommy's gesture^ " I 
don't care for 'em. I'm smokin'/' and he pocketed the sweets 
until Miss Ffitt reappeared. This she did in a very short time. 
The door opened and out she came followed by Girtie's mother, 
an amiable dark-eyed woman of fifty^ with something of the 
Amelia glance with which she swept the shop and her customers. 
She smiled as Girtie slammed home the drawer of the patent till 
and gave Hannibal a halfpenny. 

" Welly I must be off, Mrs. Rees. See you again in a day or 
two. Good-bye, Girtie darling. Good-bye little boy. How 
these children eat! Yes, this gentleman's going to see me safe 
into the train. High Street's so dangerous at night. Toodle- 
loo." 

And they were outside walking merrily up towards the High 
Street. 

" 'Ave a sweet ? " he asked, tendering the box of chocolates. 
Miss Ffitt gave vent to a miniature and strictly private scream of 
delight. 

" Goodness ! You're a mind-reader, Mr. Gooderich. Thanks. 
Won't you? WeU, it's a silly habit for men." She munched for 
an instant. 

" Don't go well with whisky," he remarked loftily. 

" No, I suppose not. I'm glad you're not teetotal. That's 
what's ruining tliis country^ this gassy stuff men are going in 
for. That lager too!" Miss Ffitt selected another chocolate 
and skipped ahead to avoid a stranger. 

" So long as you don't go on the booze," agreed Hannibal. 

" Oh, yes ! I've no patience with soakers. A man who can't 
take it or leave it alone isn't a man, that's all I can say. You 
said you lived in London, didn't you? Any family?'* 

" I ain't married," grinned Hannibal. 

"Of course, I know that! I mean any brothers and sisters." 

Hannibal told her. 

" Goodness! And she's been away for years. And only just 
goin' to be married ? " 

" I don't know much about it. You see, she's a lot older'n 
me. Since the dad died I ain't seen much of 'er. I don't 'ave 
much use for relations," he remarked, throwing away his ciga- 
rette. 



S50 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



"Well^ I always say we don't pick our relations and we do 
our friends. I'm that way, too." 

" I *ope you'll call me one of your frien's," he said. 

" Only too pleased. You must come up to the ' Stormy Petrel ' 
and see me." 

" And Sunday? " he asked. 

" Sunday? Oh, the Mumbles ! Yes, rather. It'U be like go- 
ing back to childhood's days," Miss Ffitt said, with a flicker of 
sentiment. 

" I wonder if you won't 'ave too many old friends to bother 
about me," Hannibal remarked as they entered the station. 

" Of course I shall, heaps of them," she told him. " And I 
must keep them all up, and try and get more business. Business 
is business, isn't it? But if you like to be a very extra-friend, 
well — we do get on together, don't we? " 

" Business be blowed ! " Hannibal growled, opening the door 
of a third-class carriage. Strange to say. Miss Ffitt smiled at 
tliis heresy. 

" On Sundays, yes," she replied, and her quick bright glance 
fell over him so that he thrilled from head to foot. " But you'll 
do me a favour, won't vou?" 

" Bet your life I wilf." 

*' Only tell the other men on your ship about the ' Stormy 
Petrel.' You see, it all depends on making a good start If 
Old Snickery sees business going up quick as soon as I get in, 
he won't bother me afterwards." Hannibal nodded vigorously. 

" And if they come, I'll make them come again. And an- 
other thing, don't be silly and get jealous, will you?" He 
looked up into her eager eyes and nodded again. The carriage 
lights had not yet been turned up, and her face came out of 
tlie gloom clear and piquant. Obeying some obscure impulse^ 
he sprang into the compartment and sat down by her. 

" Now, don't be silly — well I never. There ! There ! Let 
me give you one, little boy." 

There was a silence, short, sweet, mysteriously significant. 
A porter halted at the end of the carriage and moved a lever, 
and the lights went up. Hannibal jumped out of the carriage 
and closed the door. His face was transfigured. The vague 
seriousness with which he was wont to look out upon the world 
was supplanted by an expression of Miotic self-satisfaction. The 
porter, accustcto^efd as p'ortiers are to such expressidns, passed 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 351 

them without comment. Strange to say^ Miss Ffitt's prattle did 
not ran on as before. She sat with her purse in her hands and 
her eyes fixed on the floor in front of her. She had lost con- 
fidence in herself for a moment. Hannibal reached through the 
window and touched her cheek gently. Slowly her gaze rose 
from the floor and met his, searchingly, pitifully, clear white and 
blue, and childlike too, now that her cheery worldliness had 
dropped for an instant from her. The young man smiled and 
took her plump gloved hand in his. 

" Good-bye," he said. 

" Good-bye, little boy. Be good." 

" To you, sure I " he laughed. " Send me a picture post card." 

" I don't know your address." 

** S.S. Caryatid, Prince o' Wales Dock. An' tell me when 
you're comin back. I'll meet the train." 

The guard blew his whistle and Hannibal stepped back. The 
train moved with a jerk. He stepped to the window again. 

" Sunday ? " he said, and she nodded, and the train moved 
out carrying her into iiie darkness. 

" I'm on it! " he said to himself, as he strode down the street 



XIII 

ENGROSSED in his work of laying the breakfast-Uble 
the next morning, Hannibal did not hear the door lead- 
ing to the Chief's room open ; the roar of the coal pour- 
ing from the up-ended truck into the empty hold, the 
tramp of feet overhead, the soft slither of ropes and hissing of 
steam, overpowered all minor sounds. He turned and found a 
sharp-eyed lady looking him over. 

" Good morninV' she said. " Are you the new boy? " 

" Yes'm." 

She smiled. " From the village? " she asked, and he grinned 
comprehendingly. 

" That's right," he said easily, setting the cruet straight. And 
then he added, " Mrs, 'Opkins ? " 

" That's me," she nodded, and looked at the table. 

" You'll be havin' breakfast, I s'pose," he said, opening the 
drawer hastily and setting another knife and fork. " I'd'now 
where the Fourth '11 sit," he mused, scratching his head. 

" On a stool," she informed him genially. " You've not been 
to sea before, my 'usband tells me? " 

In a few minutes she had his story. Deep called unto deep. 
Hannibal perceived that her eyes, though sharp, were friendly. 
Her Cockney accent smote his ear gratefully. His knowledge 
of Whitechapel won her heart. The Steward's bell jangled 
above them, the sound coming down through the ventilator. 
Mr. Hopkins, rather grimy about the hands and face, appeared 
and pointed upwards. 

" Shut it," he said laconically, and Hannibal ran out and up 
the ladder to put the cowl over the opening. 

Evidently Mts. Hopkins ruled her lord and his satellites while 
she was at the table, though even she could not shake the mel- 
ancholy from her husband's soul. The Fourth brought in a 
canvas stool and sat on the outer side of the table, well within 
the reach of the marmalade. 

"How's Cardiff lookin', Mrs. Hopkins?" asked the Second. 

352 



4* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S5S 

*' I was sorry to leave it/' she answered simply^ passing him 
his steak and onions. 

"Hear that. Chief?'' he chuckled. "The Militia must be 
up. 

" I had to put off one very pressing invitation/' Mrs. Hopkins 
continued, nudging her husband, who was looking into his tea. 

Such a nice young man, off a liner." 

A liner in Caidiff," queried the Third, demolishing a saucer 
of pickles which he ate, American fashion, with hot meat. " That 
must be the Black Funnel Line." 

" He wanted me to elope and fly with him/' the lady added, 
spreading butter on her toast. " He told me he'd seen my hus- 
band in Singapore with a Japanese girl on each knee." 

The Fourth giggled and choked over his tea. 

" I wondered why he was asliore so long that night/' said 
the Second, and the Chief regarded him reflectively. 

** These married men ! " moaned the Third, looking round for 
the mustard. " Fancy ! One on each knee." 

" I never had such luck," observed the Second moodily. 

" Why didn't you fly with him? " enquired the Chief in hollow 
accents, pointing to the bread. 

" Because the half-pay might stop, old dear/' his wife in- 
formed him, patting his shoulder, and the Fourth, to whom half- 
pay notes were as yet in the dim and terrible distance, cackled 
heartlessly. "What are you laughin' at, Mr. Spink?" 

" Capt'n Briscoe's goin' to leave half-pay at home now/' said 
the Second. 

" So I hear. What sort of man is he? " Mrs. Hopkins asked. 
" Mr. Hopkins says he's one of these here new-fangled skippers, 
but that don't tell me anything." 

" Chief means he's very interested in revolutions," replied 
the Third Engineer, looking at the Chief, whose face was con- 
cealed behind his teacup as he drained the contents. " I've heard 
that he's one of those hermaphrodite curiosities who have passed 
as Mate in Stream. In case we should all suddenly jump over 
the side with our pockets full of half-inch bolts. Captain Briscoe 
is certified by the Board of Trade to go down below and take 
charge o' the main engines." 

" Oh, dry up ! " remarked the Chief, and passed his cup to 
Hannibal, who was listening open-mouthed. 

Sort of all-round man?" surmised Mrs. Hopkins, who was 



<4 



u 
it 



S54 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

not interested in technical details. " Doesn't any one know 
anything about him or her ? " 

" I daresay we'll have all we want of her if he brings her 
down/' the Second surmised^ rescuing the marmalade from the 
Fourth. 

"That's a nice thing to say!" exclaimed Mrs. Hopkins in- 
dignantly. " You don't mean to tell me you're one of those mis- 
erable wretches who don't approve of ladies on the ship? " 

" Depends on the lady/' said the Second diplomatically^ as he 
divided a slice of bread with extreme care. 

They take a man off his work/' surmised the Third. 
Ah, I don't suppose it needs much to take you off yoitr 
work," retorted the lady, and the Thirds amid some laughter^ 
replied that such was the fact. 

" Second means he don't mind old women like you/' said 
the Chief, looking up. "It's the young ones that play the 
devil." 

Mrs. Hopkins was speechless. 

*• Twenty-two ain't old. Chief/' sniggered the Second. 

"Twenty-two? Fifty-two, more like it/* said the Chief, a 
pale smile breaking over his grimed face. 

" Ted ! You know I'm only forty-two *' Mrs. Ho^^ins 

pinched her husband. 

"Ah, but you look fifty-two, Jane. That fast life you led 
before we were married " Another pinch silenced Mr. Hop- 
kins, and he resumed his contemplation of his tea. 

Hannibal found as the days passed that this was the usual 
tenor of the conversation when Mrs. Hopkins took her meals 
in the mess-room. Her complete and contemptuous confidence 
in her husband, her genuine interest in everybody, her total 
lack of ladylike stand-offishness, her genial scepticism, her un- 
mistakable London origin, all these things attracted the young 
man in the mess-room, and he became her willing slave. In due 
time, in a manner that is a secret among women and will die with 
them, she led him to talk of his present life, and the grotesque 
desire to make money. He, the refugee from the Brown Box, 
desired money I It was Mrs. Hopkins who took him up and 
showed him the promised land. She multiplied his three pounds 
by twelve, and the result, a year's pay all found, took his breath 
away. A young man would have to toil all his life in a Little 
Brown Box to save thirty-six pounds." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S55 

*'0i course he would/' Mrs. Hopkins said; "and when yon 
get on^ you'll have more than that. But/' she lifted a warning 
finger, " mind the foreign ports^ my boy." 

Hannibal nodded. He supposed so, though he couldn't be 
expected to know. He did know the money went quick enough 
in Swansea. It was irresistible, but very expensive, that nightly 
visit to Miss Ffitt at the " Stormy Petrel." 

Of course Mrs. Hopkins was interested in Miss Ffitt, for 
Mrs. Hopkins had herself been a barmaid at Plaistow at a time 
when Mr. Hopkins had been paid off with two years' wages. 
He had been rendered abjectly miserable by the possession of 
so much money, and had requested her to take charge of them 
both. She believed that this was really a woman's proper des- 
tiny, to look after a man's money for him and see that he didn't 
buy rubbish with it So she lived cheerfully in a little house 
(freehold) in Penarth, anx>ng scores of other sailors' wives, 
tiioroughly satisfied with her condition, receptive of all the stories 
she heard about husbands and sons in far-distant lands, and 
scornful of them all. Having no children, she felt a brusque 
and kindly affection for those children of the sea over whom 
her husband was supposed to reign. For Hannibal her London 
origin predisposed her in the favour. The Londoner, though 
destitute of the savage clannishness of the Scot, Tyke, or Welsh, 
yet has a certain community of feeling. He likes to call Lon- 
don "the village/' he accepts meekly the alien's extensive and 
peculiar knowledge of the metropolis, and he will never make 
you understand exactly why he loves London, for he will never 
make the attempt. Certainly Hannibal never did. 

Mrs. Hopkins, I was saying, was interested in Miss Ffitt, for 
she was an ex-barmaid. I am inclined to think that she had 
been a successful barmaid, though not in the way Miss Ffitt 
or Miss Bevan of Barry were successful. Mrs. Hopkins prob- 
ably had to do with men of middle-age, men who would have 
regarded ebullient conversation with pained surprise, men who 
talked over affairs at little tables, and went out with their wives 
on Saturdays. She had no cash-register in her bar in those 
days, no gramophone, no sandwiches or lager beer. Mr. Hop- 
kins, for example, was not the man to be lured by fluffed hair 
and effervescent chatter. No doubt there was in the Penarth 
home a tasteful little presentation clock or card-salver from her 
middle-aged customers, as a token of their esteem. Mrs. Hop- 



S56 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

kins was the sort of woman who grows a little more frivolous 
as she grows older. Some twenty or thirty grey hairs were 
apparent to the relentless observer on the top of her head^ and 
the quantity that came out occasionally made her stop and think, 
comb in hand; but her heart was very green, and the nice lad 
with the brown eyes and his Miss Ffitt interested her. She 
would stand at the door of her husband's room, when he was out 
on deck or down below, and talk while Hannibal did his work. 

" Why don't you do something with more money ? " she asked 
one morning. 

"What else can I do?" 

" You could go in the engine-room, couldn't you? " 

** Me? " incredulously. 

" Why not? This isn't man's work." 

-Not this?" 

" No ; it's girl's work, washin' dishes. You're strong enough. 
You ought to go in for something more — more — I don't know 
how to say it exactly. You aren't afraid o' bein' dirty, are 
you?" 

" I don't know, Ma'am. I never thought of it." 

" Some men are. Others seem to enjoy it. Mr. Hopkins 
doesn't think he's doin' any work if he isn't smothered." 

" I don't see 'ow I can change now," Hannibal said doubt* 
fully. " The chief wouldn't let me." 

" I'll make him ! " she said promptly. 

Hannibal advanced another step on his upward road to man- 
hood. He paused in his work of polishing the big lamp in the 
mess-room and put his hand on his hip, looking frankly into 
Mrs. Hopkins' sharp eyes. 

" Why d'you bother ? " he demanded, an involuntary gruffness 
in his voice. 

Mrs. Hopkins was taken a little aback. Then she smiled. 

" Ask Miss Ffitt," she answered lightly, and retreated into her 
husband's room. 

He did not do that. Youth-like he was not sufficiently self- 
conscious to bear such instruction in mind until Sunday, when 
they merged into the holiday throng that spotted Uie cliff 
walks on the Mumbles or fretted the evening skyline on the 
pier. And even had he asked her, it is doubtful whether he 
would have received any truthful reply. Had she told him, it 
is probable that she would have lost him. And Eleonora Ffitt, 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 857 

though she had never heard of Bernard Shaw and would not 
have understood him if she had^ had no intention of losing 
Hannibal. He was netted more safely than he knew. With 
woman's cunning she held back from him in the glaring lights 
of the bar of the " Stormy Petrel/' and in the noise and rumour 
of the town^ and waited until they sat above the gentle wash 
of the rock-bound shallows. With infinite artistry she allowed 
herself to become identified in his dreams with the harsh cry of 
the gulls, the presence and murmur of the sea. He remembered 
that evening always when away; the silver hoop of the moon, 
serene across the shimmering channel, the subdued whispers of 
lovers, the drone of the music, the clash of the tiny waves 
round the solemn wide-sweeping lantern on the reef, the long 
crescent of lighted roadway that curved with inimitable beauty 
into the mysterious darkness of the port, the lamp-spattered love- 
liness of the encircling hills. Of all this, in his memory, she wa? 
a part. Her warm womanhood became inextricably mingled 
with that Nature toward which he strained with inarticulate 
desire. So he recalled her out on the tropic seas, and with that 
evening still vivid within him, he worked out his probation and 
returned to fulfil his destiny, a casual of the sea. 



XIV 

LOADED to her summer marks, the Caryatid, in the 
endless hours of the middle watch, lay waiting for the 
tide. It was that hour when time seems to stop and 
the stars, dragging slowly across the sky, fade im- 
perceptibly into that first faint premonition of the dawn. On 
the coal-littered decks, cumbered with wide-straddling booms and 
the gleaming sheets of thin iron over which the coal slides to 
its place, the silence hung heavily. Now and again a restless 
sailor came out of the dim-lighted galley and hung, listening, 
over the outer side, the smoke of his pipe passing Uke a spirit 
above his head. Out on the shiny water loomed the tall hulls 
of the old steamers at the buoys. They lay there patiently 
month by month, awaiting their turn to be broken up. They 
had run their race, poor casuals of the sea; with cold hearts and 
sightless portholes they strained gently at their moorings, and 
their pale figure-heads stared in blind agony to the westward, 
as though they prayed that the end might be soon. 

The hours dragged on, and with infinite deliberation the eastern 
sky became informed with that awesome pallor that precedes 
the sunrise. An iron door clanged sharply on the Caryatid, a 
rat, creeping craftily along the plating to the pump, fled in 
wild terror beneath a winch, there was a blaze of brightness at 
the engine-room door, and once again, silence and darkness. The 
Second, his pipe blowing great clouds, seated himself on a plugged 
ventilator near the galley, and folding his arms, looked out upon 
the familiar scene. So still he was you would have thought him 
graven in stone, save for the dense rolling upward of the smoke. 
In a few moments another ghost appeared from the port aUey- 
way, a dark, huddled figure in a heavy coat of pilot cloth, with 
the cap pulled low over the eyes, the collar turned up, and the 
hands in the pockets. Quietly he moved across the deck, now 
grey against tiie white galley, now silhouetted against the glow- 
ing fire. 

"All right?'' he whispered to the Second, who did not turn 

bis head. 

358 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 850 



"All rights Chief/' he answered. 

** Wing fires away? " 

" All away," replied the Second. 

"What's shecarryin'?" 

" Sixty-five/' said the Second, meaning a hundred and sixty- 
five. 

"Dampers shut?" 

" Aye." 

There was a pause. As they stood there, a thick-set man in 
a big woollen muffler came down from the bridge deck and spoke. 
It was the Old Man. 

"All ready. Chief?" 

" All ready, sir," said the Chief. 

" Windlass? " the Captain's eyes glittered. 

"All on, sir," muttered the Second. 

" How's things, Cap'n? " whispered the Chief, looking on the 
ground. " All well at home ? " 

The Captain threw back his head and laughed. 

" Champion! " he said. " Time of my life. I'll tell you an- 
other time. But " As he paused the Second twisted round 

on the ventilator and looked at him. Captain Briscoe took out a 
cigar and bit the end. 

"Eh? "asked the Chief. 

" Think of it ! " The Master threw out his hands. " Think, 
man. I never thought of it before. You're a married man. 
Chief? You know. Leavin' the warm bed " 

Neither answered him. The Second resumed his contempla- 
tion of the grey waters. All the east was aflame with rose and 
silver. The dock lights shrank to pale points of flickering radi- 
ance. Heavy boots drummed on the bridge deck, voices growled 
in the distance, the noise of a chain block flung down crashed 
against their ears, an avalanche of sound. Another man sud- 
denly appeared above them and blew a shrill call on his whistle. 
The world of men was awake. The Old Man lit his cigar and 
pulled himself up the ladder with his brown hairy hands. A 
gold signet ring flashed on the third finger. 

"H'm!" The Second shifted his feet and waited for his 
companion to make a remark. 

" It's a hell of a life," whispered the Chief, and moved slowly 
across the deck. The Second wondered if it was. It seemed as 
though he were not aldne in feisling the iniefzpressible sadness of 



8«0 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the dawn. What a banal remark! A hell of a life! As if he 
didn't know that. Even he had some knowledge of the tragedy 
of the warm bed. • . • He stretched, twisted round so that he 
could see the galley clocks and relit his pipe. He slipped from 
the ventilator and disappeared into the steering house. Pat- 
ting his lips to a tube he blew, and a faint querulous whistle 
sounded below in the engine-room. He looked down solemnly on 
the scene of his continual toil^ critical, not ill-pleased. She was 
a good old girl ! The Third swung up the ladders, his long oily 
arms playing with a prehensile grace upon the shining rails. 

" What's to do ? " he asked, wiping his face with his sweat- 
rag. 

" Coffee," said the Second. " What's the steam? " 

" Seventy/' said the Third, meaning a hundred and seventy. 

*' Then she'll blow off^ sure as hell," said the Second gloomily. 
And he plunged with the speed of long use down the ladders. 
He passed along the plates, dived into a timnel between the 
boilers and emerged into tlie stokehold. Two Greeks and a 
German were sitting under the ventilator. 

" Look at it ! " he snarled, dragging the fire doors open and 
then flinching from the white glare. " Why don't you put green 
coal on Look at it ! Gimme the shovel." 

" She's all rights Mister Seccon," clicked a Greek. 

" la she hell ? " He seized a bucket of water and drenched 
some fine coal, turning it with the shovel. 

*' Put it on^" he ordered, dropping the tool and peering at the 
gauges. 

Sullenly they obeyed him, and the German disappeared into 
the bunkers. The Second returned to the engine-room, looked 
at the water, moved the throttle of the dynamo engine a fraction 
of an inch, and wiping his face, seated himself on the vice-bench, 
and filled his pipe. It was a habit with him to meditate upon 
the hellishness of his life. He felt resentful that a man like this 
skipper, who had just got married, should realise it so soon. 
After all, why didn't the man bring her to sea with him, if he 
wished to ? What did skippers know of the reality of loneliness. 
They were free to go as they pleased, to sleep, to gorge, to find 
fault There was the Chief too, mewing like a kitten because his 
wife was gone home to Cardiff. What about him, Hilary John 
Jesmond of Jarrow-on-Tyne, First-class Certificate and Engineer- 
Lieutenant R.N.R..^ Well, perhaps he ought to get married. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S61 

He was engaged to two or three girls, certainly, but marriage was 
a step ! He had arrived afresh at this conclusion, that marriage 
was a step, when the Third descended, followed by the Fourth, 
who was rubbing his eyes, and Hannibal, who looked as if he 
would like to rub his, but was too occupied with the coffee. 

" What's to do? " asked the Third, sipping the coffee. " The 
pilot is in no hurry." 

" He says," remarked the Fourth, " the gate's opening but he'll 
not shift her for another half-hour. What's the time ? Just gone 
four. Seems to me I've only been turned in five minutes." 

" You'll die in your bunk," commented the Second. 

" I'm sure I hope so, mister. I don't want to die down here." 

" I've lived down here," said the Second pensively, taking a 
large bite of his toast, " for sixteen years. What a life ! Once 
I had ideas. All gone now. My dungarees are dirty and God 
hates me." 

" I don't reckon he takes that much trouble over sailor-men," 
muttered the Third, drinking deeply. "Why jouse yourself, 
mister? " His drawn, slag-grey face creased into smiles, he 
moved his feet in a rhythmic ratUe on the polished plates and be- 
gan to sing: 

Oh I m»t a maid on Honuey Ri$$, 

And kUted her on the lips, 
I looked into her Umpid eyes 

And told her all the dear old lies. 

But $he started off In v>%ld evrpriee 

And her hands went on her hips, — 
8atd she, I'm the wife of a saHor-man 

Oone down to the sea in ships I 

" Stow it ! " growled the Second. " Isn't the Johnny Walker 
out of you yet? Hie, boy! what's the matter? You look as if 
they were all dead." 

Hannibal, leaning against the hand-rail of the ladder, laughed. 
His face was still soft and puffed under the eyes with sleep, and 
dark rings encircled them. His mouth was dry and distasteful 
from tobacco and drink, and his mind muggy. 

I was only thinkin'," he said, and shifted his feet. 
You shouldn't do that," warned the Fourth, measuring 
his toast with his eye. " It drives men crazy sometimes at 



« 



sea." 



The Third pinched the young man's ear. 



se^ CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" It's a hell of a life, eh ? " he whispered, and the Second stirred 
in irritation. 

" What do yon know about it? " he asked in annoyance. Tbe 
speaking tube whistle whined, and he leaned over and drew it oat. 
** Ullo, 'Sir ! — Ah ! Seventy or thereabouts. Half an hoar ? 
All right, sir. Yes," he resumed, putting the whistle into the 
tube again, "you think you have a rotten time, don't yon? 
There's another up there. Now what has he to worry about? 
I'm here. Why can't he stay in his room and leave me alone? 
There's the skipper too, tellin' me its a hell of a life, just be- 
cause he's got to leave a nice young wife at home." 

" You'd grouse, too, if you'd just got married," said the Third, 
boring him with his eye. " Especially if she's young. And all 
the time you're at sea, thinkin' and thinkin' of the men round her, 
and you far away on the ocean. Wouldn't you? " 

" Easy to talk," snapped the Second. " The younger you are 
the more you yap. Here's the Mess. I daresay he's thinkin' 
how hard it is to go away, eh? " 

" Yes," said Hannibal simply. *' I'm engaged, mister." 

" You I There you are ! " said the Second in moody triamph. 
" I told you so. Silly young blighter. Who is it? " 

" That's — that's my business, mister," replied Hannibal. " I 
was only answering your question. An' I'd like to know if the 
Chief said anythin' to you about me — coming down 'ere ? " 

"What's that?" said the Fourth, as the Second shook his 
head. 

" I don't approve of it," remarked the Second, finishing his 
coffee. "We'll see later. I expect some o' these noble fire- 
boys'll slope in Las Pahnas. What d'you want to change for? " 
he demanded. 

" More money, sir," said Hannibal. " I can do man's work 



now. 



«< 



You think so. Chasin' a coal-barrow in the tween-decks is 
very different from washin' dishes." 

" I know it is. There's no reason wjiy I shouldn't 'ave a go at 

it." 

"What you goin' to do, buy a farm?" 

" No. Git married." 

They stared at him, these young men, in awe, as he collected 
the empty mugs. Somehow the simple statement had set him 
away beyond them. He was going to get married ! The Second 






CASUALS OF THE SEA SM 

slipped from his seat, and went over to the gauges^ patting the 
curved syphon pipes with his hand. Hie returned as Hannibal 
put his foot on the ladder. 

Forget it ! " he called^ in a strange voice. 
Not me," said Hannibal, going up. 

" He's not plumb," said the Third, watching him. " The ex- 
citement has turned his brain. SpiiiJc, why don't you get mar- 
ried? You look all right when your face is washed." 

" I've tried, often," said that young man, pulling a wad of 
waste from a bundle in the store. " But it's no use, they won't 
look at you if they think you haven't got a ticket." 

They moved, as by some subconscious thought common to them 
all, over to the telegraph. 

" Is the whistle on, Spink? " asked the Second. 

" Aye, on stabbard main," replied the Fourth, and leaned 
against the wheel of the reversing-engine. 

"You know what's the matter with us?" queried the Third, 
blinking. " We're all scared." 

" Scared? " 

"Ah, scared. We come to sea and get into the sea-habit, 
and then when we go ashore, we're like damned kids. I think 
it must be the condensed milk gets into our blood and we funk 
comin' to the point. See that young feller? He's only been at 
sea three days and he goes up town and gets engaged. Says he's 
goin' to get married. You daren't say that. Jack. Nor you, 
Spink?" 

" I wish I was a rich lady's pet-dog," remarked the Fourth. 
The whistle whined, choked, and then burst into a terrifying 
roar above them. 

" So do I, but what's the use ? Pet-dogs aren't bred on con- 
densed milk." The Second looked up and saw the Chief gazing 
mournfully down from the steering house. 

" Throw her over," he said. " Spink, open up and forget it. 
You'll be out on the West'ard to-morrow. All right, sir ! Stand 
by! Where's that greaser? Here, Snyder, put the syphons in. 
Right, Spink? Swab the tails, Snyder." 

With a great sigh the cranks moved, woke up, jerked back- 
ward, and came to rest. 

" Condensed milk ! " said the Second to himself indignantly, 
as he peered round the engines. ** What does he know about 
it" 



864 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

High up on the flying bridge Captain Briscoe walked to and 
fro, a proud man. Preoccupied with his own private pleasure 
and pain, he yet watched wiUi relentless attention the manceuTres 
of the ship ahead. She was the VechHrom, a slim, long-nosed 
three-thousand-ton freighter from Rotterdam. Captain Briscoe 
found time to envy her commander. With admiring eyes he 
watched her swing round as her twin-screws revolved, one against 
the other, churning the dock-water into cream-coloured foam. 
And then, as her sharp thin nose pointed toward the open gates, 
both engines went full ahead, beating the foam into tumultuous 
waves, her whistle blajed, and she was away. Seventeen knots 
she went, that little clipper ! with her rows of steel derricks, her 
self-trimming holds, her patent rudder, her collapsible lifeboats, 
and all the rest of her. Captain Briscoe gazed sourly at the tri- 
colour flag flaunting on her flush poop. Danm these Dutchmen ! 
Why didn't British owners have modem ships ? To-morrow night 
she would be safe in Rotterdam. And he resumed his scrutiny 
of the check-ropes, glancing first at the Chief Mate on the fore- 
castle and then at the Second away aft As the latter swivelled 
his signal disc from red to white, the Old Man raised his hand. 
Mr. Cadoxton, natty and fresh-shaven, thrust the telegraph 
slow ahead. As the Old Man passed him he spoke wit^ the 
seriousness of youth. 

"Funny thing, sir! I was looking at the articles last 
night, checking the discharge-books, and I noticed some- 
thing." 

"Eh?'' 

'' The mess-room Steward, sir. His name is a rather unusual 
one. I don't know whether you noticed it." 

"Eh.?" 

" Gooderich, sir." 

" Give her a kick astern, slow," said the Old Man, watching 
the pilot's hands. "Port! You at the wheel there." In the 
wheel-house behind the glass windows and teak framings the 
round face of Drevis Noordhoff could be seen at the wheeL 
" What's that you said, Mr. Cadoxton ? " 

" Not a usual name, sir, ' said Mr. Cadoxton, deferentially. He 
was a rather exasperating young man, with his courtly manner 
and boyish face. He had grown up in the new tradition into 
which tiie Old Man desired to be an adept, and he had a way of 
impressing his superiority upon people. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 865 



€4 



No^" snapped Captain Briscoe^ relapsing into the older tra- 
dition. "What of it? " 

'* Well — shall we ease her, sir? " 
*' Stop her! Mess-room^ did you say? " 

'' Yes, sir. Joined in London. Belongs there^ I believe. He 
hasn't a discharge^ of course." 

Captain Briscoe walked up and down, making signs to Tommy 
at the wheel and Waving to the men on the pier heads. /He 
remembered now. It was the lad in the tobacconist's shop, of 
course. Certainly it was, as the Third Mate said, curious. He 
turned suddenly and walked back. 

" Half," he said. " Port there — that'll do. Slow, Mr. Ca- 
doxton." 

Quarter-cheek's away, sir," said Cadozton. 
Half, then. What made you mention it? " 
Well, as a matter of fact, sir, the Third Engineer was 
telling Mr. Brail of a friend of his of that name, and Mr. Brail, 
he said his brother-in-law on the Torso knew a lady of the same 
name, you see, and so 



«< 



" What was he on the Torso? " 
" Mate, sir, I believe." 



The Old Man turned away again. He leaned over the end 
of the bridge and watched the piers receding. Once more he 
was going out to sea. But this time he was conscious of a dif- 
ference. He had left something behind. As the distance widened 
he felt as though an invisible thread were drawn taut. She 
was already far away in her little flat. A sudden pain shot 
through his heart. Had he been a fool? He was terribly 
proud, this master mariner, proud of his career, of his yeoman 
ancestry, of his ship, of his wife. But had he been a fool over 
the wife? Had his impulse led him wrong? Somehow this 
news of the lad in the mess-room disturbed him, he scarcely knew 
why. Surely he had gone into the whole business with his eyes 
open. Minnie had not deceived him. No, dammit, she had 
graciously accepted him. The pilot touched him on the shoul- 
der. 

" Pleasant voyage, Cap'en." 

They shook hands and the pilot went down to wait for the 
tug. Captain Briscoe resumed his thoughts. Was this to be 
his portion for months now? He had read of jealousy. Was 
he to dream of that little flat? to pace the bridge at night think- 



$66 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

ing of her as he knew her in Antwerp^ of other men ringing the 
bell, and of coming in ? Oh, that would be a hell of a life i The 
perspiration stood on his face though the morning wind was oooL 
He went down and drank a glass of whisky. What was his 
nerve coming to? He understood now why married men stood 
motionless by the rail, looking out across the sea. As he went 
into the chart-room to set the course, he bethought himself of 
prayer. Could he pray? God! What a life! 

Mr. Hopkins stood on the lee-side of his house and in- 
spected the discharge water as it foamed below him. Like most 
men with a ruined digestion he rarely looked happy. The 
Second Mate had stopped on his way to the bridge to inform him 
that the Old Man had written a ten-page letter to his wife the 
night before, and he had received the news with calmness, merely 
spitting into the sea. What fools men were! He listened to 
the beat of the engine, suspicious of trouble. He was always 
anxious until the Second came up and stood by the rail smoking, 
silent and disdainful, as though wondering what land was for 
anyhow. He would look thus at the eternal hills round the 
Pirsus, at the glittering domes of Venice, a sarcastic sphinx. 
As he came up now, the Mumbles Head received his disparage- 
ment. The Chief looked at him furtively. What was he think- 
ing about, this wiry and tireless lieutenant? He wasn't mar- 
ried. Was he disappointed because lie never attained promotion? 
What a fool! He was better where he was. He could eat his 
meals anyhow — blessed privilege! 

All right ? " he asked, looking towards the shore. 
Intermediate Rod's bio win' a bit. I'll take up," said the 
young man. 

" Aye, it'll take up," echoed the Chief. " Swab it good." 
An expression of contempt crept into the Second's face, but 
he did not answer. When the Chief looked round to speak to 
him again he was gone, and the Third went past him with a long 
slouching stride. He was going to the forecastle, Mr. Hopkins 
knew. Some damned scum was sleeping off the drink instead of 
taking his watch on the fires. The Chief let his mind wander 
gently to the days when he was young and indignant, when he 
fought with the soddened and desperate seamen wlio fill the stoke- 
holds of our merchant navy. His liand wandered to his thigh 
wfa^ice he had once pull^ a Dago's knife. Fierclie work on thof^e 



«« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S67 

Manzanillo boats in the old days^ eh ? He saw the Third return- 
ing along the foredeck pushing and punching a reeling brown- 
bearded man. Up the ladder to the bridge deck he came some- 
how^ pummelled from behind^ falling prone hj the cabin door. 
The Third heaved him up and along again until they reached Mr. 
Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins regarded the brown-bearded man with 
disfavour. His big blue eyes were bleared with drink^ his mouth 
worked convulsively and his clothes were dropping from him. 
He leaned his shoulders hard against the house^ and his head 
sank. 

" Goin' to turn to ? " asked the Thirds shaking him. 

" What's his name.^ '* asked the Chief. 

" I dunno. He's a Dutchman." 

"What's your name?" repeated the Chief. 

The man's eyes opened, blinked, and closed again, as he hic- 
coughed. Four bells rang clear and distinct on the morning 
air, and a sailor ran up the bridge-ladder to relieve at the wheel. 
Tommy came clattering down to get his coffee, running along the 
alley-way. As he passed the little group, the fireman's eyes 
opened and roved round glassily. They settled on the boy's 
face as he stood there trying to pass. 

"What's your name.^" 

" Jesus ! My name ! " The man struggled to his feet and 
stood grasping the rail. A shudder of nausea ran over him and 
he raised his brown-bearded face to the blue sky. . . . 

" Better get down below," said Mr. Hopkins to the Third. 
" Leave him to me." 

Slowly the man turned his eyes aft, where the boy was talking 
to the Bo'sun. 

" My name," he whispered huskily. " Mister, I'm bad. 
Lemme go and turn in, for God's saJse." Again he looked. 
"Better this afternoon, sir." 

" Git out of it," said Mr. Hopkins, turning away. 

Hannibal was fixing up a photograph in his berth when Tommy 
came in. 

" You got a gel all right, all right," he remarked approvingly. 
" We'll write post-cards each place, eh ? " 

" Sure," assented Hannibal. " Letters too." 

" I don't know what to say in a letter, in English," said 
Tonuny, feeling elbow-deep in his canvas bag. " I only write 



868 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

to 'im in a letter/' and he nodded to a sketch of a clean-shayen 
man with a loose tie that was pinned over the lad s bunk. Tommy 
fled out again and left Hannibal to examine the picture at leisure. 
Tommy was not loquacious about his friend. He called him 
" the man dat looks after me." He had a bundle of long letters 
from him^ addressed to " Alein Fliegende Hollander^" which 
Tommy had explained to Hannibal's puzzled ears. It appeared 
that this man " made pictures " and had " bags of money/' that 
he had been a passenger on a ship^ the old Eumenides, y/rhere 
Tommy had been cook s boy^ and he had taken an interest in him. 
And being something of a power^ through relatives in Billiter 
Lane^ he had got the Amsterdammer on the Caryatid as a sailor. 
That was why^ Tommy said^ in answer to Hannibal's query^ he 
was in a room amidships instead of in the forecastle. Some day, 
when he had finished his time^ the picture-man was goin^ to 
get him a mate's job^ and then he was made! "You see," 
Tommy had said simply, " he ain't got no liddle boys, and he 
want me to be smart an' get on, and den, he'll help me. When 
I done four years, I'll get my ticket an' go third mate. I call 
him my fader, 'cause I never had one, see." Hannibal thought 
of this now as he put up the photo of Miss Ffitt on the bulk- 
head over the settee, and his mouth hardened. There was no 
" picture-man " to take an interest in him, that was plain, nor 
did he want one. He was going to make his own way. He 
had sometliing to work for now, something to think about 
Unlike Captain Briscoe, no doubt assailed the young man's 
mind. Nellie wasn't that sort. Of course^ she had to be easy 
and good-natured to the customers, but what of that? It was 
business. His luck almost took his breath away. She had told 
him that old Snickery would have to vest the licence in some one 
else^ as he could not hold the new premises as well. And he 
wanted to hold the new premises very badly, for they were 
going to pull it down later on^ when it would be valuable. Any- 
thing might happen, they decided as they talked it over. Hanni- 
bal wanted to rise to this new development With Nellie he 
felt it possible to accomplish wonders. He would hold the Chief 
to that promise Mrs. Hopkins had extracted from him and try 
and save money. By money Hannibal did not mean thousands. 
He really had no conception of a hundred pounds. He was like 
those Bushmen who cannot count beyond a certain figure. Fifty 
was a golden dream, but he determined to get as near as be 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 869 

could to it. By the time he went in to tidy up the Second's room 
he felt confident about fifty. And then, coming back again, roll- 
ing home across the sea ! He tried to realise his position. Oat- 
ward bound, and all the world to see ! 



XV 

WHEN he turned out one morning at half-past four 
and looking through the port saw no land^ he felt 
that the irrevocable had happened. For the first 
time he was out of sight of England. Tommy, 
taking his hour on deck^ looked out of sleepy eyes at the round 
cloudless sky-line and said that that was nothing. Hannibal sup- 
posed it was. He grew accustomed to being told that the things 
he felt were nothing. This nihilism of the seafarer is a sort 
of half-way house^ where he dwells awhile before he goes on to 
the final acceptance and despair. But Hannibal did not think 
it was nothing. He thought it was wonderful, these familiars 
of the sea. Day by day^ he would watch the great pano- 
rama> the sudden rifting of the clouds, the doMrnward dart 
of the straight strong beams like the pillars of a golden tower 
reaching up to God. He saw the black massing of the rain- 
clouds, the swift movements of their shadows across the sea, 
the gulls wheeling in endless circles above his head, black against 
the sunlight, white as snow against the clouds. He saw huge 
liners loom up on the horizon, burst into clear view, with all 
their panoply of boats and ventilators and glittering windows, 
flash past with proud funnels belching smoke, and drop out 
of sight. He saw oil-tanks towing slowly and painfully east- 
ward, the stunted little steamers with their ugly high-perched 
bridges^ the unwieldy lighters with their tall steel masts and 
solitary deck-houses. Humbly indeed they swam on the ocean, 
bereft even of a name, and expressing, in their dangeronsness 
and preciousness the ignoble ideals of those who send them 
forth. He saw tiny fishing boats bobbing buoyantly as they 
toiled to reap a scanty harvest on the broad fields of the Bay. 
He saw white winged sailing ships come up out of the dawn, 
flying clouds above grey hulls that lay over to the wind. And 
when the weather changed and the Caryatid bored her way 
through the sloping green, when the sky was thick with great 
clouds racing easterly and the wind-swept decks wet with the 

leaping spray, he saw the sea in a fresh phase. For hours, 

370 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S7l 

when his work was done^ he watched the mountainous waves roll- 
ing up and crashing against the stubborn bows^ listened to the 
boom and rattle of the platings the sough of the wind in the 
ventilators and the scuflSe of the propeller when the stem lifted 
in the swell. And when the weaUier roughened^ he would stand 
by the galley and watch the green seas leap over the bulwarks 
and thunder upon the deck in furious splendour. Sometimes 
they missed and he would wait breathlessly for the next. Like 
most ships which have had their load-lines raised^ the Carifatid 
was a wet ship. Sea after sea came over the weather side, and 
Hannibal would note the sailors with their heads bowed, drenched 
to the skin, hanging to the life-lines that ran along on either 
side. This was summer weather in a steamer! To them it was 
nothing. They did not call it going to sea, these leathery beings 
who had been round the Horn in sail before Hannibal was 
born. This was summer time. Day by day they chipped and 
scraped and washed the paintwork, moving about with a sort of 
lumbering ease adapted to their arduous and humdrum labour. 
Only in the forecastle, where Hannibal did not see them, did they 
drop their mask and try, pathetically enough, to be human. He 
saw the black squad too, now and again, dark forms hunched 
against the funnel-casing awaiting the eight-bell chime: or he 
would come upon a trimmer, emerging from the hatch, filthy 
and breathless, his sweat-rag in his teeth and a smoking slush- 
lamp in his hand. The Second would often appear abruptly 
from the sliding coal, and discuss professional problems with 
the Chief, who awaited him. Day by day and night by night 
each one of these men had his appointed hour and toil. He 
saw the Old Man in his double-breasted coat with the brass 
buttons and his long sea-boots, pacing the bridge like a caged 
animal, silent and supreme. It was inconceivable that he should 
be Minnie's husband, grotesque, absurd. Once or twice, he 
had paused in his walk and eyed Hannibal as he hurried to 
and from the Steward's pantry. What was he thinking 
about? Was he angry because his wife's brother was a mess- 
room steward ? Did he know ? Hannibal gave it up. He knew 
so little about his sister. Only when in iliought he placed her 
side by side with Nellie did he feel certain of his ground. 
Nellie was different from Minnie. He felt that. There was 
something strange about Minnie, superior as she was. With 
the sublime omniscience of youth he brought all morality to the 



«72 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

measure of his embryo mind. And in his embryo mind the tiling 
that was strange was antagonistic. That was why he loved the 
eternal heave and rhythm of the ocean. But in his love for 
Nellie he instinctively shrank from anything so strange as Min- 
nie. Why did his mother never speak of her? She must be 
more than strange, more than antagonistic; there must be some- 
thing evil in her life. To him evU was not a devil with horns 
and tail, not even a fiery furnace. It was rather a vague un- 
easiness, a dark cloud at the back of his mind. To Tommy it 
was something sharp and very real, hunger and the bodily pain 
of cruel whipping. But Hannibal had never been very hun^y 
nor had he been drilled in the religion of an avenging deity. 
He did not know what it was, save that when he thought of 
Nellie and Mibnie, he was afraid. And yet, there was tlie 
Old Man. He gave it up and went on living his own life, dream- 
ing of the future, and watching with insatiable interest the com- 
mon flow and return of sea and sky. 

And as they drove southward towards the Canaries, a new 
wonder came to him. The clouds rolled away across the world 
and the air grew warmer. Down in the engine-room Hannibal 
thought it unbearable. In that maze of flying rods and gleam- 
ing metal, men toiled, stripped to the under-vests. The oil- 
laden atmosphere stifled him, but the Third sneered amiably 
at the bare suggestion that it was anything unusual. With the 
sweat running from his grey face in streams, he would tell the 
young man that it was " just a nice workin' heat." And he would 
lift the chatty from its hook in tlie ventilator and drink long 
and thirstily. " You're not bom yet," he would tell Hannibal. 
" You'll be marked before you see old England again. This is 
nothing. The stuff'll be up at the top o' the thermometer and 
tappin' to be let out, yet." 

" Is it 'ot in the bunkers ? " Hannibal asked timorously, lifting 
his mouth fish-like to the cool of the ventilator. 

" Hot in the bunkers ? Just a wee. Still set on it ? Ah ! 
You'll get a bellyful before you're paid off then. Fine healthy 
exercise for a young chap, trimmin' is ? " 

The Chief saluted the lower parallels by changing into a weird 
costume of stained khaki, and ordering Hannibal to remove a 
blanket from the bed. That bed-making was a trial to him at 
first. The enghieers one and all broke out into open insurrection 
over his entirely new and original method of folding the bed- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA S7S 

clothes so that no mortal could insinuate himself into them. So 
he went humbly to Tommy^ who knew everything^ and asked to be 
shown how. Tommy's blue eyes opened in wonder upon a 
young man of eighteen not knowing how to do a simple little 
thing like that. 

" You thick ! " he said, grinning. '* 'Ere, I'U show you." He 
dropped the clothes off his bunk and began. " First," he said, 
" take all dese off, see, and put them on the settee. Now tuck 
in de bottom blanket. Engineers 'ave sheets, see.^ Den put de 
piller straight an' tidy. Den you vatch me. Take de blanket 
and de sheet an' lay 'em along de edge o' de bunk like so, 
see.^" 

Swiftly Tommy laid the bedding across the bunk-board and 
folded the tops neatly back. 

" Who taught you, Tonmiy f " asked Hannibal, trying to imi- 
tate him. 

" Me ? De steward o' that German boat, 'Amburg-Amerika 
Line, 'e show me. It was 'im gimme de belt, an' den I run away, 
see." 

" That feller's a good friend to you," said Hannibal, remem- 
bering what Tommy had told him, and nodding at the photo- 
graph. 

" Sure thing ! He gimme my sextant, and plenty clo'es. He's 
a Man! " stammered Tommy, a far-away look in his eyes. " A 
Man, by God! '' 

"Why don't he get you a job ashore?" asked Hannibal. 

" I dunno. Not so easy. I'm a sea-boy, I am. I reckon it's 
got to be. And it ain't so bad, if you're smart and try to get 
on, eh? Everybody got to work! He works, making pictures 
same as Rembrandt. When we come back I'm going to see him 
in London. He's away now." 

Bit by bit Hannibal, friendly-eyed and unobtrusive, learned 
the obscure histories of his shipmates. Bit by bit he picked 
them up, piece here, piece there, a vivid patch next week, and 
tried in his unskilled way to put them together. What a won- 
derful patch-work it was! He would talk at times to the ap- 
prentices, who had imagination, and they helped him to join 
up stray fragments of gossip. They told him of Mr. Cadoxton's 
lordly connexions, of the Second Mate's bigamy case a year be- 
fore, and they fed him full with amazing stories of the Old 
Man's wife. He was interested in this last, as may be imag- 



874 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

ined. The senior apprentice certainly told his tale well^ thoagli 
Mr. Cadozton's artistry was visible in the sketches. But Hanni- 
bal's was a detached interest tinctured with a furtive pride in 
his exclusive knowledge of the lady. They told him^ too, of 
the Old Man^ how he tramped the bridge hour after hour star- 
ing across the sea^ how he let meal after meal pass without 
uttering a word> thinkings thinking. " It's on his mind/' said 
the senior apprentice darkly. ** He was going to bring her the 
the voyage^ but Mr. Cadoxton says she's quite impossible. He 
tried it on the Torso, you see^ and he had to leave. She kidded 
him she's got bags of money^ you see, and now he's stung, he 
can't forget it I shouldn't be surprised if he jumped over the 
side one of these days. My brother was with a skipper who cnt 
his throat." And so on. Hannibal listened to it all, the inane 
conjectures of the sea. He could not help seeing that, though 
very human, these men were a race apart. They believed all 
this cackle that passed from lip to lip, yet it altered their atti- 
tudes toward one another not at all. . . . They accepted man as 
desperately wicked, they knew him to be inconceivably foolish, 
and these special examples were only faint outlines of what tliey 
might be. Under them all the screw kicked them ever onward, 
over their heads the sun rode with undeviating rectitude. Wliat 
recked it, if men were purblind and given over to a lie? It was 
but a tale to be told in the dog-watches. The iron grip of the 
articles held them for a time, and then, when they jostled into the 
shipping office once more, they would fall apart, disintegrate, and 
their gossip would become a lurid fable, succulent but incredible. 
But to the Old Man, it was no fable for idle hours. As they 
slid through the summer sea the possible became a nightmare 
certainly, and he writhed with no soul to ease him. He re- 
membered with shame his indiscreet outburst before the Second 
and Chief, when the bitterness of the dawn was upon him. Me- 
chanically he took his bearings, checked the reckonings, and 
wrote his night-orders. Over and over in his room he fumbled 
with the scanty notes that she had written him. She had no gift 
for correspondence, she had said lightly, as she held the match 
for his cigar. He groaned inwardly as he recalled that every 
one of her charms was the charm of the odalisque, save that im- 
maculate calm, that maddening indifference; and was not that 
after all a supreme effort of the genius of the odalisque? She 
had led him on by thrusting him back. . . . Yes, by God! She 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 875 

had sent him away. And he — the infatuate fool — but stay^ he 
loved her ! 

He would drop his cigar into the tray as he sat in his room^ 
and stare with strained eyes into vacancy^ holding the edge of 
the table. Sometimes he would draw out his writing-materials 
and begin a letter. My own dear darling Utile wife, and so sit 
an hour on end, in an agony of doubt. Sometimes he would 
start up, resolved to break the spell, light a fresh cigar, drink a 
stiff peg of whisky, and go along to the Chief's room. But the 
Chief did not understand, and resented interruptions when he 
was reading Scott. He had no interest in Scott, and he hated 
Scotsmen as only a Welshman can hate, but he had got into 
the habit. He fell asleep over the Talisman in the afternoon, 
and after ten he would take down Quentin Durward and start 
half-way through. Was he curious to peep furtively into that 
mysterious world of mushy heroics in which he had no part? 
Did he believe after all in anything beyond his propeller? Who 
can say? He would lay the book aside and clear the litter from 
his settee, and wait for the Old Man to speak. 

" Pretty fair run," the Old Man would say, and Mr. Hopkins, 
reaching for his pipe, would nod. 

" Wednesday morning, I should say, eh, at two hundred and 
fifty a day?" 

Another nod. "How's things going? All right?" 

Another nod, and silence. And then the Old Man's eyes 
would move around the room, as though he had never seen it 
before. He would look at the bookshelf stuffed with dime- 
novels and Scott, built solid with magazines and a copy of 
Breakdowns at Sea. A photograph of Mrs. Hopkins, taken some 
years back, in a widespreading skirt and with her sharp eyes 
cast down on the pages of a book, was fastened in brass clips 
over the bunk. Other photographs there were, groups of em- 
barrassed men in uniform, with backgrounds of ventilators and 
life-buoys, faded portraits of old ladies and gentlemen. Colour- 
prints there were too, gaudy trashy things with sentimental 
rhymes tagged to them, picture post-cards of quite indescribable 
bathos. Mr. Hopkins would sit, his head on his hand, listening 
to the steady drum of the engines. He had no opinion of his 
wall decorations; they did as well as anything. Once he had 
gone over the side, his watch in his pocket and his certificate in a 
tia (Saie in his tieieth, and frtnn the lifeboat, lifting td tbe early 



« 



876 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

morning swell, had peered through a thin fog at the steamer 
that settled slowly hy the head and finally vanished. He thought 
nothing of it. It was, he would have told you, nothing. The 
idea of using such an incident to make conversation was gro- 
tesque. Captain Briscoe, desirous of heing communicative, would 
have felt no interest in such a commonplace triviality. He him- 
self had spent three days of his life on a raft, equipped with a 
most inadequate supply of provisions, so inadequate in fact that 
two out of his three companions, somewhat run down by the 
fine weather and the tropical sun, went to sleep and never woke 
up. The minds of such men are like locked chambers of horrors 
of which the keys have been lost. Mr. Hopkins gave one the 
idea at times that he was looking for the key, that he was trying 
to think where he had seen it last. Perhaps that was the reason 
that he read Scott. As the Old Man's eye moved restlessly 
round, he would fill his pipe and reach out with incredible deliber- 
ation for the matches. 

She's a comfortable ship, this," the Old Man would say. 
Ah, I've seen worse," Mr. Hopkins would mutter between 
the puffs, and he would hold the match interminably over the 
ash tray, and letting it drop at last as though it was his life, 
and he was weary of it. 

" You've been here a good while now? " 

Mr. Hopkins nodded. 

" How'd you get on with old Mfddleton.^ " 

"Not so bad." 

" Used to carry his wife, didn't he ? " 

A nod. 

"AU the tune?" 

" Mostly." 

" I wish I'd brought Mrs. Briscoe now. She'll be lonely all 
this time." 

Only &VC days out! There was a shade of expression in Mr. 
Hopkins' face, an expression of contempt. 

" Oh, I mean, you know, the voyage ? Oil's way up now, you 
know. Chief. It's all on the cards we take case-oil out of New 
York to Japan, eh ? They told me so in Billiter Lane." 

" A year perhaps, that's nothitig." 

" It's some waiting when you're a married man, I think. I 
wish I'd brought her with me." 

"Why didn't you?" 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 877 

" She didn't like the idea — said she'd had enough . . ." The 
Old Man stopped^ pulled himself up short; you could almost 
hear the brakes screaming. " She's a bad sailor. Even cross- 
ing the Channel's too much for her^ she says. She travelled a 
good deal/' he ended lamely^ looking at the end of his cigar. Mr. 
Hopkins^ on this occasion^ made no remark. His poise was ad- 
mirable. 

" I suppose a man gets used to it/' the Old Man added. 
"InUme, eh?" 

Appealed to directly, the Chief allowed his eyes to travel to 
Captain Briscoe's knees. Perhaps the question struck a chord 
within him. Perhaps his imagination was fired by the counter- 
idea of a man actually not getting used to it. He was stirred. 
He became, comparatively speaking, dramatic. He shrugged 
his shoulders and reached for another match. 

" Got to/' he whispered. 



XVI 

IT was a pleasant life^ trading the wide world round, and 
the scenes came so rapidly before him that Hannibal felt 
the need of a readjustment in his mental process. No 
longer was it possible (and the change from mess-room 
to forecastle made Uie process imperative) to brood over the 
rich phantasmagoria of sea-life as he had brooded over the 
easy monotony of youth. When you are going to and fro across 
the Seven Seas, carrying coal to the Islands, loading oil in the 
West, taking sugar from Java to Germany, and salt from Ger- 
many to New York, your attitude towards the eternal verities 
becomes strained. You begin to understand the men about joo, 
why they say continually that these things are nothing, and 
revolve on your own pivot. The ship takes on an importance 
you could not conceive before: her very vilenesses are dear to 
you. You become a part of her. You hear, in the night watches, 
her voice as she labours onward, the little intimate complaints 
of her fabric. And then, when in the forecastle you hear the 
incredible clangours of the chain-locker as the anchor plunges 
headlong to the mud of the harbour, it is to you more than 
the fall of empires, and the first look through the port is like 
the discovery of a new world. 

So he changed, this young man from London, and into his 
eyes came the look of those who have seen the great distances. 
He grew lean and wiry and tanned, and a small black moustache, 
like a charcoal smear, came into being on his upper lip. The 
refinements of urban life, such as he had, fell from him, and 
his speech became supple with the lingua franca of the sea. 
He took his meals seated on a soap box, with the platters on 
his knee, and he learned the wisdom of eating from the middle 
of the kid, where a man's thumb cannot reach. He became, 
as is necessary in the forecastle, primeval, contracting his visible 
personality to a canvas bag and the boards on which he slept. 
Day and night disappeared from his view and he judged men 

and things by the middle-watch. Each night and noon he took 

378 



CASUALS OF THE SEA «79 

his way along the fore-deck^ under the stars or beneath a furnace 
sky^ and descended into his appointed place. Here again were 
conditions astonishingly inimical to the conventions of the *' Lit- 
tle Brown Box." He never forgot his first day^ leaving sunny 
Las Palmas^ in the bunkers. The Second had taken him down 
through the stokehold^ where men stabbed furiously at burned- 
down fires^ and great heaps of glowing clinker spattered and 
stank as water was flung over them^ through a small door and 
up, up into blackness and pungent odours to where small yellow 
flames burned smokily in the fog of a coal slide. He saw 
yawning openings in the decks into which he was to tumble bar- 
row after barrow, openings into which he nearly tumbled himself 
once or twice. And he had been left there, with instructions 
to get a move on and keep it running. He had set to work in 
feverish fashion, shedding first the blue dungaree coat, then the 
shirt, and finally, stripped to the skin, shovelling, shovelling, 
eyes, and nose and mouth full of the acrid impalpable dust and 
the sweat making rivulets of white skin on his chest. He had 
gone at it bald-headed at first, after the manner of the tyro, and 
at two o'clock lay panting on the coal, too exhausted to climb up 
or down. The Second, crawling cat-like over the hummocks, 
found him and diagnosed the disease. *' You won't last a week 
if you slog at it like that, man," he had said, his eyes gleaming 
in his soot-darkened face. " Take it steady, piteh-and-pitch. 
Like this," and taking the great square-mouthed shovel he drove 
it deep into the coal, swung it back and out with a long measured 
lunge and shot the mass, clean and solid, into the hole ten feet 
beyond. Hannibal watched him attentively, saw the sense of 
slow-moving persistence, and tried again. He got into the way 
of it in a day or two, and kept her running easily enough. And 
when the agonising stifi*ness of biceps and thighs had worn away 
he even enjoyed it. It was fierce, but it was nearer being a 
man than anything he had ever experienced before. At first he 
had regretted the flesh-pots, and sighed on Thursday for the 
ham-and-eggs of the mess-room, but he soon discovered that the 
most important part of a meal was the pipe that followed. He 
had discarded his short stumpy briar, and divided his afi*ections 
between a thick clay and a thin-stemmed corncob. He learned 
to cut up the sweet Boreen, paring it into his hand, rolling it 
with a slow circular motion, and packing it away skilfully into 
the bowl, wasting none of it. He would take his corncob up on 



880 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

the forecastle head after tea^ which was his favourite time, and 
with his back against the windlass drum look out from under the 
low awning at the opal and turquoise of sea and sky. It was 
quiet up there^ and he discovered the sense of separation that 
this gives^ far away from the immediate tumult of the engine- 
room. Even in the bunkers he heard them but faintly, muffled 
throbs mingling with the scroop and rattle of the shovel, the 
croon of the dry barrow wheel, or the thunder of heavy lumps 
against the bulkheads. Up there he would sit and sometimes 
watch for Tommy. Half-way up the foremast was the crow's- 
nest, and after tea, if it was his watch. Tommy would climb 
up to the ladder and ensconce himself there for an hour, peer- 
ing out across the level floors. Sometimes he would look down 
and grin at the sedate Hannibal puffing luxuriously under the 
awning. It was in this way that Hannibal learned the begin- 
ning of a story that had its ending the day before they reached 
Japan. The brown-bearded man with the bloodshot blue eyes 
who trimmed on the four-to-eight watch, and who slept in the 
bunk over Hannibal's, used to join him at eight bells, and sweep- 
ing the kid clean with a crust, discourse upon life as he had 
found it. He was bitter concerning life, apparently, blaming it 
for many things, and bitterer concerning women. It was diffi- 
cult to discover exactly what his grievance against them was, 
for from his own telling they had been kind to him in a casual 
way, helping him in divers trouble, giving him money, and asking 
naught but love in return. He was very proud of his power over 
women. They would do anything for him, he said. It was 
possible, for women are foolish, and he had the mobile month 
and unabashed eye that lures them to folly. And yet he spoke 
of them with bitterness. They were all no good, except one, 
and she was dead. Perhaps this was his grievance. She had 
died while he was away, and her mother, the old hag! bad de- 
manded money to keep the child. That was years ago, when 
he was young, and might have settled down. He had had everj 
intention of settling down if she had only lived. Of course, be 
only told his own side of the story. He said nothing of his 
desertion of the woman. How was he to know she would have 
a child? And he never had any money, it seemed to go some- 
how. But he had been thinking, and he was going to make a 
change; he was going to save this trip's money, not get drunk 
at all, go back to Amsterdam and get a boatman's job. He would 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 881 

put ten pounds in the bank at least, and buy a boat and some 
clothes with the rest. Sailormen were fools^ he argued. 

Hannibal would listen and nod> letting the brown-bearded 
man go on, and in this way they grew friendly, exchanging 
tobacco and matches, pooling things like butter and tea, and 
doing little kindnesses to one another. They shared the bucket 
that the Second had given Hannibal, and took turns in washing 
clothes on the fore-hatch. Little as there is to steal in a fore- 
castle, men will steal it, and these two would guard each other's 
tiny belongings in the watch below, taking one another's part 
in the wrangle over the tinned milk, and so cultivating a certain 
humanity that makes for the soul's good. It was Jan who took 
Hannibal ashore in New York, when they were loading there, 
and led him across the Brookljm Bridge into the unimaginable 
uproar of Manhattan. Hannibal's breath stopped as he stood 
there, that Saturday afternoon, among the tangle of iron rods 
and flying trolley cars, and looked out at New York. It was to 
his unaccustomed eyes the City of a Dream. He walked through 
the deep streets, a pigmy among pigmies, dazed and frightened. 
The roar of it, and the immensity of it, appalled him. But 
when they walked down to the Battery and saw the great, ferries 
sliding back and forth like shuttles on the bright water, saw 
the blue sea shimmering beyond, he felt reassured. Jan laughed 
and said it was nothing. He had worked there once for a time, 
got four dollars a day until he went on the booze and lost his 
job. It had not been his fault. Some one had put knock-out 
drops in his liquor and cleaned him up while he was unconscious. 
Air his money gone, he had shipped away again on a German 
ship, and tried to start afresh. But Hannibal's gaze returned 
again and again to the tremendous buildings with their innumer- 
able windows, tier on tier to the sky, their giant towers and stark 
outlines. It seemed to him that there was a personal antagonism 
in this monstrous conglomeration of alien energy, and he felt 
afraid. What would they think of it at home.^ How would 
Mr. Grober regard it? It did not occur to him that he might 
find Mr. Grobers in New York as in London. It seemed im- 
possible. This was a place for men who had leaped the quick- 
sands of life, who were not to be sucked in like Mr. Grober. 
And yet as his eyes took in the more immediate details, he saw 
old men and slatternly women on the seats around them dozing 
in the heat, very like people on seats at home. It was when 



8B2 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

they boarded a surface-car and went away uptown that he saw 
a difference. There was a brisk, unrelenting hardness in the 
faces, a ceaseless striving after smartness in the clothing, a dis- 
quieting lack of humanity in the way the conductor pushed an 
old man off the step, that seemed in keeping with those prodig- 
ious structures among which they crept. Hannibal's uneasiness 
deepened. The atmosphere was charged with unrest* The 
brown-bearded man and his young companion in their rough and 
crinkled clothes seemed out of place. They got off and walked 
along aimlessly, suddenly tired. Hannibal felt that he was not 
equal to it. He wanted to get back to the sliip. He remembered 
that he ought to write a letter. 

So he saw the world in fugitive peeps, and began to com- 
prehend why seamen in the fulness of their knowledge called 
it nothing. He felt that too ; all those millions of people harry- 
ing to and fro were nothing to him. He was but an alien, a 
haphazard atom of humanity dropped among them for an idle 
hour. A day or two, and he was on the sea again. He preferred 
it that way. As the weeks grew into months he became aware 
of a fuller and more passionate love of it. The cool wind at 
evening, when he sat by the windlass and thought of Nellie; the 
endlessly changing panorama of clouds, the sublime galaxies of 
the tropic sky, the friendly moon flooding the wide ocean with 
silver light, the lonely tramp passing a mile away — all these 
things touched him and filled his heart with peace. 

He had had no letter yet from her, he remembered, as they 
drove southward toward the Cape. Of course, it was a difficult 
job to time a letter properly to catch a ship that was wandering 
hither and thither. Plenty of other men on the ship had missed 
letters they were sure had been mailed. Perhaps he would get 
one in Durban. He tried to feel worried but he did not succeed. 
He longed for the time when he would return, and yet he was 
very happy as he was. He liked it, this life of strenuous toil. 
He liked the monotony of it. It gave him time to think about 
things. He acquired a sort of spiritual stoicism often cultivated 
at sea. It is the ultimate good to be derived from the sea by 
those who dwell in the hot, unhealthy huddle of towns. In there 
among those roadways, in the clashing din of the market and 
the bawl of the money-changers, you cannot see mankind for the 
people, you cannot feel for your nerves. At sea, you behold the 
ignoble rabbk in persptctive, the blade many-headed swarm lie 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 888 

on the fair earth like a blight^ you perceive the contemptible 
insignificance of their passions in comparison with the terrible 
passion of the sea^ and if you have been living " according to 
your lights," you will have time and space to see the lights of 
eternity, to listen to the west wind, and to barken to the voice 
of the storm. 

He had too much to reflect upon to become morbidly interested 
in himself. No man can be an egoist in the forecastle. The 
lack of privacy and the communal discipline of toil precludes 
it. When the Caryatid pushed her blunt nose across the thirtieth 
parallel, and the cool rushing trade-wind poured down the ven- 
tilators and flapped the shirts bent to the forecastle rails, Han- 
nibal would sit amongst his mates and listen to their vague 
maundering speech. They were scarcely to be called men, if 
you selected, say. Sir Anthony GilfiUan as a typical man. 
Rather were they dumb-driven cattle, capable nevertheless of 
turning, the red light of battle in the dull eye, and rushing upon 
their owners. They did this once — and it may happen again. 

For the most they slept or read penny stories of true love 
and virtue triumphant. There were twelve of them there in 
that dark triangular cupboard. Three small ports admitted a 
dim twilight upon them as they sat about on boxes or lolled in 
their bunks. At night a single bulb of light behind a ground- 
glass screen burned like a relentless eye watcliing them. When 
they moved, vast shadows swept across bulkhead and ceiling 
with idiotic speed. Men hung pants and towels over their rails 
to obscure the light, while others read. Fritz, the German 
greaser, had fashioned a hinged tin box to cover it in the night- 
watches, and this box had a habit of working loose from its hook 
and, coming down with a bang in the middle of a desultory con- 
versation, plunge them in darkness. The floor was littered with 
matches and soiled with black boot-tracks. Here and there 
some one had laid down a piece of sacking in an attempt to keep 
the place tidy. One or two bunks were neat and clean. Often 
you might see a half-naked figure rubbing with sweat-rag and 
soap at some unpremeditated soilure on his bunk-board, the 
petty motions of his arm repeated in gigantic grotesque across the 
wall. But these were exceptions. The great Greek, whose feet 
hung over the bunk-board near the door and tended to obtrude 
upon the incoming stranger, terrifying him with their very vast- 
ness, blackness, and sprawling articulation, was not a clean man. 



384 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Hannibal would sit on his box and look up at this recumbent 
enigma, wondering what he thought about. It was his dntj 
twice a day, at four o'clock, to arouse the man. Once — the 
day they left New York, to be precise — he had been unable to 
arouse him. Pinching, punching, shouting into the sooty ori£ce 
of his ear, was of no avail. Hannibal called the Second Engi- 
neer, and received some instruction in the art of turning out 
the watch. The Second placed his oil-smooth hands on the 
Greek's enormous abdomen and rolled him slowly from side to 
side. If you have a nervous temperament this will cause you to 
sit up, knocking your head against the bulb-iron of the ceiling, 
and shrieking with simple terror. But the Greek was fathoms 
deep in an aftermath of carouse, and he only sighed, flinging 
one great arm over his head. He lay there in magnificent pose 
for a sculptor, the eccentricities of the lighting throwing his 
profile into sharp relief. The Second was not a sculptor, and 
he merely scratched his hand and cast his eyes down at the 
bottom bunk. A tow-haired Norwegian lay there, wide-eyed, 
watching him. The Second crooked his finger. "Get out," he 
said shortly. The man came obediently, feet first, hitching his 
grey flannel underclothes as he stood up. The Second got into 
the bunk, lay down and put his feet against the loose boards of 
the top bunk. What followed was almost too rapid for Han- 
nibal to take in. The body of the Greek rose as though in some 
terrible physical convulsion, swayed, and fell over the board, 
belly first, clothes, mattress and all, in one tumultuous cascade 
upon the floor. Hannibal and the Norwegian stepped back to 
avoid the crash. For a moment the malodorous heap lay still. 
A man putting on his boots on the other side of the room mut- 
tered, " Jesus Christ ! " rose up and slouched away on deck. 
Slowly the Greek raised himself to his knees, coughed and spat, 
the saliva dribbling in discoloured threads from his lips. He 
looked round as an ox looks round in the pen, suspicious, bewil- 
dered, the whites of his eyes rolling. 

" Goin' to turn to.^ " asked the Second. 

Once again the man spat, and struggled to his feet blindly. 

" Serve you right," said the Second, looking down at the dis- 
array of the bedding. " Too much whisky, Angelatos. Get busy 
now ! There you are ! " 

High up in the crow's-nest the bell tanged sharply, eight 
strokes. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 885 

And Hannibal went down to wash himself in the stokehold. 

It was somewhere in that interminable crawl across the Indian 
Ocean from Durban to Sabang that he got his first taste of 
the fever that seizes the Northerner by way of carelessness. 
Day after day they followed the long slant north-easterly^ cross- 
ing the burning line at an angle of twenty degrees. Day after 
day the sun blazed down upon them^ and night followed night 
in breathless succession. And then one evening there came a 
change. The light air that Hannibal sought so eagerly after 
tea on the forecastle-head^ dropped entirely^ the black smoke of 
the Natal coal rose in a spectral column from the funnel-top. 
Up on the bridge the white figures of the Captain and Mate 
showed against the teak wheel-house where they talked. Out 
of the ship's side a great tin wind-scoop could be seen sticking 
from the Steward's room^ twisting round and round as he en- 
deavoured vainly to catch the slightest draught. Late into the 
first watch Hannibal lay up there winking at the stars, turning 
in hot discomfort on his pallet^ and watching a black line thicken 
and spread over the horizon. As the hours crept past it grew^ 
a dense blackness like a smudge of charcoal on dark blue paper. 
When he was called at One Bell the blue dome was blotted out^ 
and he had to feel his way to the ladder. It was about half- 
past one> as he stood under the ventilator in the stokehold drip- 
ping with sweat after cleaning the ashpits^ that he heard the thin 
clear call of the Chief's whistle. As he climbed the ladders a 
heavy blob of warm greasy rain smote his cheeky another fell on 
his hand. The Chiefs ghostly in his white sleeping-suit^ was 
standing by the fiddle-top. 

" Yessir ? " asked Hannibal. 

*' It's goin' to be some shower/' muttered the Chiefs taking 
hold of his arm and pointing to the skylights. " Better get up 
and shut 'em. Turn the ventilators aft. Quick ! " 

Hannibal climbed quickly^ but the rein was quicker. As he 
thrust the first skylight lift hard down^ it came. Each great 
drop> as it struck his vest and pants^ seemed to pin it to his 
body. He bowed his head to shield his eyes^ and the rain 
poured down his neck in streams. The sound of it battering 
on the awnings and canvas covers of the lifeboats was deafening. 
He had to feel for each lift as he struggled round. He could 
see the Thirds far down in the glittering radiance of the engine- 
room, looking up, wondering at the noise. In less than half a 



8S6 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

minute Hannibal was as wet as though he had been dipped in 
the sea. His boots were fuU^ his pants clung to his limbs^ and 
the rain ran from his hair into his eyes. He jumped down to 
the deck, felt for the rope ladder that was lashed in the bunker 
hatch, and disappeared, swaying^ into the deeper darkness of 
the coal. Anywhere to get out of the rain! 

" Gor lummy ! " he muttered to himself, crouching on the 
coal, and wondering how long it would last. And as he sat 
there he began to shiver. He tore off his singlet and tried to 
wipe his body with his sweat-rag. He stripped and went on 
wiping, his teeth chattering. He hardly knew what to do. 
All his dry things were in the forecastle. He went to the lad- 
der and looked up. The breeze was cooler now, a tear in the 
black canopy showed a strip of velvet blue sky studded with 
stars. He decided to chance it before it came on again, and 
clunbing up, he ran swiftly forward, his white body gleaming in 
the darkness. He found a dry cotton vest and clean dungarees 
and put them on. Certainly it had been "some shower." 

The next morning, when they called him for his breakfast, 
he lay on, shivering with cold and streaming with sweat. His 
stomach seemed tied into knots. The Second came along and 
looked at him, scratching his head. Wlien he asked what was 
the matter, Hannibal turned over in utter weariness and said 
he was sick. There was something wrong with his inside. The 
Second went away and the Steward came, bringing the simple 
therapeutics of the sea. He put a slim glass tube in Hannibal's 
mouth and told him to keep it there for a minute. When the 
Steward took the thermometer out again and looked at the tem- 
perature he said ** Sufferin' Moses ! " and ran away to speak to 
the Old Man. They returned together, white figures over- 
whelmingly incongruous in the dim kennel. Captain Briscoe 
looked down at the youth lying motionless under the blanket 
You would not have thought, to look at the Captain's immaculate 
drill suit with the gold shoulder-straps, the white-covered cap 
with its ornate badge and cord, his neatly-trimmed beard, his 
pipe-clayed shoes, that he had lived many years in the fore- 
castles of sailing-ships. He stood looking down, his hands 
clasped behind him, while the Steward tried the temperature 
again. 

" Hundred and one — hundred and two, now, sir ! Better 
give him the fever-mixture, I should think." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 887 

"And a dose of salts/"^ added the Captain. "What's his 
name ? " he asked generally. 

Nobody knew his name. Jan^ lying in his bunk^ leaned over 
and looked down at the young man. 

" Hanny> what's your name ? " he called. " Captain wants 
to know your name." 

" Gooderich^ sir^" he whispered^ and the Captain gave a 
scarcely perceptible start. 

"What's he been doing?" 

" In the rain^ I expect^ last night/' said the Steward. " I 
felt it on me face. Had to shut the port^ sir." 

The Captain went out into the daylight and walked up and 
down the bridge for an hour^ pulling at his beard. Mr. Cadox- 
ton^ in exceedingly fine raiment which he had got, at great 
expense^ from a Liverpool tailor^ surveyed the ocean with a sat- 
isfied smile. He was a nice-looking lad, with a complexion tend- 
ing to ruddiness and freckles beneath the eyes. His teeth were 
white and regular and he used a manicure set. Captain Briscoe 
had not made up his mind about Mr. Cadoxton. Finding him 
playing cards one evening in the dog-watch^ he had remarked 
that he would be better employed studying for his Master's ticket. 
This was excellent in its way^ only Mr. Cadoxton, who was a 
little older than his clean-shaven and fresh-looking features be- 
tokened> already possessed an extra-master's certificate^ and Cap- 
tain Briscoe should have found it out before. He knew, and 
he knew that Mr. Cadoxton knew> that he himself would never 
get an extra-master's certificate if he lived to be a thousand 
years old. Mr. Cadoxton looked down even on " Conway boys." 
As he stepped jauntily to and fro, keeping his eyes with exas- 
perating vigilance upon the empty horizon. Captain Briscoe, 
walking fore and aft alongside the wheel-house, reflected with 
some bitterness upon the puzzling tangle of existence. He 
would have given fifty pounds for some one to talk to. He 
dared not open his mouth to the Mate, the man's every movement 
implied his unappeasable hunger for promotion. The Second 
Mate was fat and secretive, and his record was clouded by that 
grotesque bigamy charge. With the curious contrariness of hu- 
man proclivities. Captain Briscoe desired greatly the confidence 
of Mr. Cadoxton. He felt that the young man had the inde- 
finable requisites of gentility; his voice betrayed him when he 
spoke of " my people." Captain Briscoe, with an effort, remem- 



888 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

bered to lay his knife and fork together before the Steward 
removed the plate. Mr. Cadoxton did it without rememberings 
just as he took his soup from the further edge. Captain Briscoe 
had every reason to hate the young man, and did hate him at 
times, and yet he felt that if only they could gain one another's 
confidence in some trivial accidental way, he might derive com* 
fort from the circumstance. They approached each other ante- 
matically in their walk, and Mr. Cadoxton withdrew his eyes 
from the ocean. 

" The Steward tells me there's a trimmer sick, sir," he re- 
marked in his small refined voice. 

" A touch of fever," assented Captain Briscoe. " It's a very 
curious coincidence," he went on, " that young feller's name is 
the same as my wife's." 

" Is that so, sir P It is curious, certainly. We all have poor 
relations somewhere." 

Captain Briscoe thought this an excellent notion, and dem- 
ocratic. 

A matter we can't be held responsible for," he suggested. 
Of course. It may be only a coincidence though: I have 
heard the name before. That's the chap who was in the mess- 
room, I think." 
That's him." 

Very decent young chap, sir. I spoke to him about the boat- 
drill last Saturday and he was very civiL Most unusual in the 
firemen class." 

" I can't say," said the Old Man — " I can't say as I'd like 
to have anybody belonging to me in the forecastle, nowadays. 
Still, I don't know anything against it, if the man's respect- 
able." 

" Not at alL A man isn't responsible for the others. But 
why don't you ask him, sir? Has Mrs. Briscoe mentioned any 
of her relations who follow the sea ? " 

" No," said the Captain, taking out a cigar. ** She didn't.'* 

" Perhaps he's one of the independent sort, quarrelled with 
his people, perhaps." 

"Maybe. What is it. Chief?" 

The Chief, in his suit of blotched khaki with the brass but- 
tons enamelled with verdigris, stood looking up at them. He 
pointed to the forecastle. 



« 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 389 

"Oh, he'U be all right to-morrow. Chief. Put *em on six- 
hour watches," and the Chief walked slowly back to the after- 
deck. 

" You think he's quarrelled, eh? " 

" I had a cousin who went to Canada," remarked Mr. Cadoz- 
ton, reaching for the binoculars in the box by the telegraph. 
" And I believe he did something of the sort. Left the Army 
and went out for good." 

" Fireman? " asked the Captain hopefully. 

"Oh, much worse, sir. I believe he's a billiard-marker in a 
club." 

Captain Briscoe resumed his walk. The long voyage was tell- 
ing on his nerves. Fifty days out, and still they crawled in an 
unbroken circle of cobidt blue. They were making, according 
to orders, for Sabang, a new coaling station somewhere in the 
north of Sumatra. This was the second time they had crossed 
the line. Twice more they would have to pass that mystic 
circle ere they started northward up the China Sea. He reflected 
with impatience upon the absurd regulations of the Canal which 
made case-oil proliibitive if carried on that route. In Sabang he 
would get coal and fresh meat, and what was more important, 
letters. He had had a letter in Durban, a brief scribble with- 
out any of the luxuriant language of newly-wedded Iqve and 
therefore unsatisfying. She said she was busy with her flat, 
had joined a women's club, would write more next time. He 
could not help being proud of the stylish handwriting, the em- 
bossed lettering of the address, the thick square envelope. She 
knew how to do things all right. But he longed for a little 
gush. Was it anyway possible she disliked being called his own 
dear darling little wife? A warm flush of vexation came over 
his face, and he went down to get a peg of whisky. 

Two or three days of breathless inaction and semi-starvation, 
racked by diarrhoea and headache, and Hannibal crawled out 
into the daylight again. The Second told him to take it easy, 
and gave him a stiff dose of whisky. It did him good, though 
he found the shovel strangely heavy, and often he would grow 
dizzy and have to lie on the hatch with his face on his arm, 
exhausted. Swansea seemed a long way off. Was she thinking 
of him? He hoped so. He found now, in his weakness, that 
tears came easily. He was sorry for liimself. And one night 



890 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

as he sat in the cool breeze that blew from the Nicobars^ he 
heard the mates and engineers in the Second Mate's room sing- 
ing " Rolling Home " : — 

RoUm' hom0, rolUn* hom$. 
Rolling hom4, rolltn* hom4, 

RoUin* home — acroa — the sea, 
RoUin' home to dear old England, 

Rollin* home — dear heart — to thee I 

He felt a terrible pain in his chesty and the tears came unbid- 
den to his eyes. He heard a growl from some one of them, 
overwrought. 

" For the Lord's sake sing something else ! I can't stand 
it ! " And Hannibal understood perfectly. 

Twenty-eight days after they had quitted Durban, the Caryatid, 
rounding Acheen Head, passed slowly into the land-locked har- 
bour of Sabang and made fast to the white timbers of the jetty. 
Angelatos went to the door of the forecastle as the Mate shouted, 
'* Make fast ! " and looked round, licking his lips. He had been 
this way before, had Angelatos, and he knew that gin was a 
shilling a bottle. 



XVII 

IT was the end of the day^ and the Caryatid lay off in the 
middle of the land-locked harbour. From where Captain 
Briscoe sat in his deck-chair no break could be distinguished 
in the high^ densely-wooded hills that enclosed the sheet 
of waveless water in which he laid moored. It was as though 
some mad millionaire had brought a great ship oyer the moun- 
tains and launched her on his ornamental lake. Here and there 
in the velvety gloom a light hung, a drop of liquid yellow. The 
riding light shed a pale glare on the forward awnings. For the 
rest^ it was darkness save for the dim light of the stars. The 
oil-lamps in the chart-house failed to penetrate the curtains. 
Captain Briscoe^ in his pyjamas, his pipe gone out, lay in his 
deck-chair and stared out moodily towards the bows. He was 
distraught in more ways than one. The owners had cabled^ coun- 
selling speedy and he had cabled back diplomatically^ regretting 
a non-existent delay. That was bad, on his first voyage in a 
bigger ship. What was worse^ he had received another brief 
letter from Minnie. She was busy and could not think of a 
great deal to tell him. Throwing down the letter petulantly he 
had torn open the newspaper^ one of those bulky weekly journals 
that appeal more particularly to the love of the dramatic and 
spectacular in human beings. On the front sheet was an article 
with big headlines relating the successful and burglarious entry 
of some suffragettes into the House of Commons. Captain Bris- 
coe regarded the suffragettes very much as he regarded Dagos> 
with loathing and contempt. He felt they ought to be crushed 
with an iron hand. If, he argued^ a woman was a woman, she 
would never do the things these hermaphrodite beings did so 
persistently and publicly. Mr. Cadoxton had agreed with him 
in this. He read on^ trying to interest himself in the paper^ 
when he came to the list of the prisoners who had been hand- 
cuffed after a stiff struggle with the police. With something 
like paralysis numbing his brain^ he had seen Minnie Briscoe on 
the printer! |>age> and had let the paper drop.' 

At tea-time he had sat there at the head of the cabiii-tablei 

991 



892 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

seeing nothing, eating nothing. With a certain sense of relief 
he saw that Mr. Cadoxton was absent^ taking watch on deck. 
What was he to do? He wanted to run away and hide him- 
self. He felt that if he could only go out and kill something 
it would ease the agony of mind. They would all see it. 
Every one would have a look at the papers. He had a wild 
notion of going round and stealing them from the different rooms. 
He turned again and again^ when he reached his room, to the 
vile rag that had recorded this hateful thing. There it was> 
'' Minnie Briscoe, 808 Tedworth Square, S.W/* She, his wife, 
was in prison! 

So far, he reflected as he sat in his chair, sucking at a cold 
pipe, so far, thank God, he had seen no hint of any suspicion in 
the faces of the others. But to-morrow, and the days to come! 
His liands clutched as he thought of it. And on top of this, 
the trouble with the men. Gin was a shilling a botUe in this 
place, and somehow, in spite of his care, they had got it. The 
Chief had told him laconically that steam was impossible until 
the men came round. They lay in an abysmal stupor; nothing 
could be done. Only one, that yoiuig chap out of the mess-room, 
was doing his best with the Third and Fourth to clean one or 
two fires during the night. Captain Briscoe thought bitterly 
that he need have no cause to look down on the young man now 
— he was at least respectable. He rose from his chair and went 
down the ladder, leaving the Third Mate leaning over the rail. 
Hannibal stood by the fiddle-grating, cooling bimself after a 
turn with the shoveL He felt rather uplifted by the fact that 
he was the only fireman sober. It had been a wild time in the 
forecastle that afternoon. Men had drunk themselves mad. 
Angelatos had grown furious with a big red-haired Liverpool 
Irishman, had lunged forward with a bottle in his hand and gone 
down with a crash against the bulkhead. Jan was drunk too, 
and it took a lot of gin to make him drunk. Hannibal saw the 
Old Man pass into the cabin, and went over to the hatch to sit 
down. The Fourth would call him if he wanted him. He had 
had a letter from Nellie, a real letter, full of cheery gossip from 
his own love-a-duck. Another from his mother did not contain 
much news. Mrs. Gooderich had not felt able to explain what 
had happened to Minnie. When you come to think of it, it was 
rather a difficult thing to explain to a boy, as Mrs. Gooderich 
still thought him to be. As he sat there thinking of all that 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 893 

had happened since he had left the Little Brown Box, he became 
aware of two crouching figures moving across the dim whiteness 
of the cabin bulkhead. They paused at the entry^ gesticulating 
in the darkness. Perhaps they wanted the Steward. He didn't 
know. Why should he bother? He had plenty to do. And as 
' he was asking himself why he should bother, he heard a thud, 
and a growl. 

He rose up and went on tiptoe to the cabin door. At the far 
end of the white panelled alley-way was a swaying curtain. He 
heard a struggling sound, and a smothered " Ouch " and an 
imprecation. He went in feeling his way along the wall, leaving 
black finger-marks on the glossy enamel, and drew the curtain. 

It was the Captain's room. The oil-lamp was turned down 
low by the broad bunk. Across the room, just in front of a 
mahogany locker, were three men locked together. Captain 
Briscoe's sleeping suit showed up against the dark forms of the 
other two, who were on their knees in a curiously bowed attitude. 
His arms were about their necks, and he was striving to crush 
them down. One of them had worked his arm loose, and wrapped 
it around the Captain's neck. So they strove there, almost in 
silence, rocking to and fro. 

The sound of the Third Mate's footsteps in the ladder roused 
Hannibal to action. He turned and beckoned, and then ran in 
and seized the fireman's arms. Mr. Cadoxton followed him pre- 
cipitately. He had been dozing, and dreaming of the pleasant 
Leicestershire country, when he heard the first thump below 
him. 

"What's up, sir?" he called, and threw himself upon the 
man's neck. Freed from the embrace the Old Man sprang to 
his feet and dealt the man blow after blow in the neck and 
face. For an instant he was mad, and struck blindly, but the 
Third Mate's voice recalled him. He paused. 

"Get the handcuffs," he ordered briefly. "And call the 
Mate." The men rose to their feet, cowed and noiseless. Han- 
nibal saw with amazement that one of them was Jan. 

The Mate came hurrying in with the shining steel things in 
his hands. Captain Briscoe turned up the lamp. He seemed 
relieved by the exertion. His face was calm as he turned to the 
men. 

"Mr. Hutchins," he said to the Mate, "handcuff these men 
and put them in the lazaret. In the morning I log them for 



SM CASUALS OF THE SEA 

breaking into the spirit-locker. Mr. Cadoxton^ you're a witness 
of this. You ! " he said to Hannibal. " You saw this, eh } '* 

" Yea, sir, I heard a noise as I was sitting on the hatch." 

" Take them out of it/' ordered the Captain. '* And call the 
Steward to put the place straight." 

To Hannibal, standing in that unaccustomed privacy^ there 
was something horrible in the submissively extended wrists of 
the two men who had been bludgeoned into a craven acceptance 
of manacled seclusion. And one of them was Jan, the man he 
had been ashore with, his chum in a way, and not a bad fellow at 
all. As the Mate led the men away and Mr. Cadoxton followed, 
he remained standing on the soft red carpet. The Captain 
turned and saw him. Checking a gesture of dismissal he looked 
the young man over. 

" See what it does for a man ! " he remarked, feeling for a 
bruise near his eye. " Keep away from it" 

" I do, sir. Never take much. Makes me 'ead «che." 

*' Good for you. What's your name ? " 

" Gooderich." 

"Oh." The Captain yrent over to a little mahogany table 
and took a fountain pen and paper. " You belong to London ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Any relations there ? " 

"Yes, mother and sister." 

" Sister, eh ? " 

"Yes, sir." 

There was a pause. Hannibal's eyes came away from the 
table and met the Captain's squarely. The Captain went over 
and took the door off the hook. The Steward came in with a 
run as the Captain was closing it. 

" Never mind. Steward," he said. " Clean it up in the morn- 
ing. I've changed my mind." And he shut the door. 

" Now," he said. " You did me a good turn coming in here 
just now." 

" It was the Third Mate, sir." 

" Yes, you did, and I'm going to do you a bad turn in pay- 
ment for it. Don't you know anything about your sister at 
aU?" 

"Just a bit, sir. We never 'ad much truck with each other 
since I was a kid." 

"You know, then?" 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 895 

" Something, sir." 

" You know what she used to be — when I first knew her? " 

Hannibal looked down, his hands behind him, vaguely dis- 
turbed. 

" I didn't/' he muttered at length. " But I can make a pretty 
good guess." 

" AQd do you know where she is now ? " 

" Married, sir." 

"She's my wife!" 

" That's right, sir." 

" And do you know what she's done since we left home? " 

** I — I haven't 'card, sir. My mother don't say much about 
'er. She's almost a stranger to me," he pleaded in a low voice. 

" Look here ! " And Captain Briscoe held up the newspaper. 
" She's in jail. My wife and your sister in jail. That's a nice 
thing to have coming after fifty-six days at sea." Holding the 
paper to the light Hannibal read the particulars of the raid 
and the ensuing arraignments. 

" A nice tiling ! " muttered the Captain, feeling the bruise 
swelling beneath his eye. 

" And then this on top of it. My God ! " 

He turned, and putting up his hands on either side of the 
port, looked out. A black mark ran across his shoulders where 
the man's arm had laid hold of him. 

Hannibal put the paper down and looked round in a scared 
way. The moment was beyond him. He couldn't express what 
he felt save that he was sorry for the Old Man. This man 
had been kind to him, had given him a job. He was, moreover, 
his brother-in-law. That was what staggered him. All these 
months they had been within a hundred feet of one another and 
no words spoken. What a strange world it was! And his sis- 
ter, the quiet-eyed girl who used to take him with her to the 
Botany Class in Trinity Road, in jail! 

" What is to be done, sir? " he asked in a low voice. 

" I don't know. Upon my soul, I don't know. Only this. 
Keep your mouth shut, do you hear? " 

" I ain't likely to blab," Hannibal said, surprised. 

" See you when we get home, understand ? " 

"Yes, sir." 

*' You see what this means to me ? " He ceased abruptly, a 
look of fear coming into his tyea as though he himself were 



896 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

only just then seeing what it meant to him. His trim beard 
was twisted around his set mouth, his pyjamas had lost a button 
or two, and revealed the hairy chest, faintly tattooed with red 
and green markings, a heart, hands clasped, a Union Jack. 

" I won't say anything to anybody," said Hannibal. " It's 
a mixed-up business, I can see that, for you." 

" I'll have to cable," the Old Man muttered, staring at Han- 
nibal. "What shall I cable? I must think. But it's all over 
now. They'll get six months. We'll be home by then. God ! " 

There came a knock at the door. It must have been low 
enough, but it sounded like the crack of doom to the two stand- 
ing within. The Captain went over and opened the door. The 
Chief, looking as though he were deliberating upon some stu- 
pendous problem, stood on the mat. He raised his eyes. 

" Trouble ? " he asked, feeling in his pocket for matches. 

" Oh, Chief, come in. I've been taking this man's evidence. 
He came in after those two touglis and assisted me. All right, 
you," he said briskly. ** You'll sign the log in the morning.'' 

Hannibal stepped out into the alley-way and the door closed. 

" Trouble? " the Old Man whispered, taking the Chief's arm. 
" Don't it take the biscuit? Here we've come twenty-eight days 
without a break, saving coal, as they told us, and they want to 
know where we've been. And then this on top of it. This 
means twelve hours lost." 

" Gin's too cheap," said the Chief, putting the match care- 
fully in the ash-tray. '* I've been along. Fo'c'sle's like a pig- 
sty. Stinks. Hell let loose. I'd jail them if I was you.'* 

At the word jail the Old Man looked hard at the Chief, who 
was staring at the wall. ''Jail," he whispered, and said no 
more. 

" You've got a bat in the eye? " asked the Chief, looking at 
him for a moment. 

" Isn't it a hell of a life? " snarled the other, suddenly raging. 
" Isn't it a beautiful life? Here am I, lying on my bed worried 
enough with one thing and another, God knows, and those scum 
crawl across the room to the whisky." He tore the pyjama 
jacket from his body and flung it in a comer. 
Jump on 'em?" enquired Mr. Hopkins. 
I landed right on top of them, and by God, I'd have killed 
one of them if nobody'd come in. And been sorry for it! " he 



« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 897 

added^ stepping^ nude and shaking with anger^ to a chest of 
[ijQ drawers. 

"All they're fit for/' growled the Chiefs going towards the 
«|(i door. 

" Hold on^ wait till I get some clothes. Have a peg? It's 
Ijjf on the locker." 

^ " Get any letters ? " asked the Chief, pouring some whisky 
y into a glass. The Captain came up to him and poured another. 
u " Yes," he said, drinking. 
' "All right at home?" 



jt The Captain reached up for a cigar-box and selected a cheroot. 
^ He turned the light down till it was a blue shadow in the shell 

of the burner. 

" So damned hot," he said huskily. " Sit down. Chief. I've 
^ gpot to tell you something, about my wife. You may hear from 
^ some lying hobo who'll put all sorts of frills on it. I can trust 
; you to keep mum, can't I? " 

' Mr. Hopkins, drawing steadily at his pipe, grunted and in- 

' dined his ear. 

, , " The fact is," went on the Captain, " my wife's got some 
.. peculiar ideas. She's taken up with the Suffragette business and 
M, there's been some trouble. She got run in with a lot of others, 

and there you are. You can imderstand of course, it's only a 

case of her being led on." 
. " 1 saw it," said the Chief, staring at the carpet. 
/ " You saw it! " repeated the Old Man, drawing back. ** Then 

why in thunder didn't you say so ? " 
"No business o' mine." 
^' Captain Biriscoe sucked at his cigar. 

" They've all seen it, then? " 
^ "No. What of it?" 

" Suppose it was your wife. Think of it — handcuffed ! " 
f "Say nothing." 
^ " It's all I can say. I only told you in confidence. I've got 

to speak to somebody. I'd go mad if I didn't. Chief." 
f^ " It'll pass. This business will make 'em forget it. You're 

making too much of it."- 

A silence fell upon them, and they sat there in the dark- 
'", ness, each thinking, in his own way, of the tremendous problems 

that beset them whenever they touched the land. All reid trouble 



898 CASUALStOF THE SEA 

came to them from ashore. Mr. Hopkins^ taming orer in hia 
mind a certain mortgage, ahnost regretted the necessity for receir- 
ing letters at alL Captain Briscoe sought relief from his pres- 
ent disorder in reflecting upon the easy way in which sailormen 
were fooled* Everybody fooled them — owners, ship-chandlers, 
house-agents, charterers, women, everybody! Fooled them and 
forgot them. He found himself back at the old point again. 
Minnie had forgotten him, else why had she not written to him 
in her trouble? He stirred uneasily on the red-plush cushion as 
this new grievance flooded his mind. As though he understood, 
as perhaps he did, for he understood more than he could express, 
Mr. Hopkins put his hand on the Old Man's arm. 

" Wait, wait," he muttered. " You're all worked up. Tarn 
in and sleep. You can't do an3rthing." 

He stood up, and the room filled suddenly with daxsling 
radiance. 

'* He's got some steam," remarked Mr. Hopkins. *' Well get 
away at daylight Good night" 

He went away quietly, and Captain Briscoe, turning out all 
the electric lights save one by the bed, sat for a long time at 
his table, his chin on his hands. Gradually the tide turned, and 
a semblance of peace came into his eyes. 

''No," he said to himself gently, as though in answer to a 
voiceless query. " No, she's mine. I took her, knowing what 
she was. Some day I'll stay ashore and look after her. A little 
house in the country, with honeysuckle and bees. God! The 
years I've worked! I don't ask much, eh? Just a few years, 
and a few things some men have all the time. Surely shell 
understand. She's cleverer than me, she'll understand." 

It was midnight when he rose, and the habit of years sent 
him up on the bridge to have a last look round. The Third 
and Second Mates stood in the shadow of the awning, talking 
earnestly together. They fell apart as he came up. 

" All right, Mr. Brail? " he asked. 

" All quiet, sir." , 

" Call me at four o'clock," he ordered. " I'm going to turn 
in." 

** Very good, sir." 

He went in again, and lying do^n on his bed he extinguished 
the light and fell into a tumbled sleep. 



XVIII 

THEY had been out two days from Sabang, when Han- 
nibal, hanging over the side of the starboard bunker- 
hatch, discovered it. He had come up for his two o'clock 
spell and a faint breeze blew off the mountains of 
Sumatra and fanned his face. His bodv was naked to the waist, 
a black sweat-rag hung like a rope's-end around his neck, and he 
spat inkily into the blue water that lapped the rusty and peeling 
plates. Without knowing exactly why, he found himself wait- 
ing for the occasional wavelet that reached the starboard strake 
and ran aft with a flicker and a scarcely perceptible hiss. He 
bent his head lower and watched carefully. The next time the 
slight heel of the ship aided the ripple, the immersion was 
deeper, the hiss unmistakable. He got down on his knees and 
felt the ship's side. Hot, yes, but not so hot as all that. There 
it went again. He waited until the ship rolled to starboard 
again and watched. This time he saw it for certain. It was 
steam. 

He stood up again and tried to think what to do. He was a 
man now and he wanted to make sure. Where could he get 
another view of that bunker? He went down the ladder and 
saw with disappointment that he could not get to the inboard 
side of it. It was too near the funnel. But the bottom of it, 
he reflected, would be the ceiling of the engine-room down below, 
over the forced-draught fan. He descended and passed under 
the boilers into the engine-room. The Third was standing undex 
the windsail, whistling: '' That's how I need jfou*^ 
"Hello," he said, "what's to do?" 

Hannibal's eyes wandered about the ceiling over the fan and 
dynamo, and the Third looked at him in some surprise. 

Say, mister," remarked the young man, raising a black arm, 
what's up above that there." 

Coal, my child. Stabbord engine-room pocket. Want 
some?" But Hannibal had run three steps, and stopped, look- 
ing up at the smudge on the white paint. 

"Can you get up there?" he asked. This time the Third 

899 



«« 
« 



« 



400 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

saw the smudge and understood. In three springs he was on the 
fan, another, and he was hanging to a stringer within the reach 
of the smudge. He touched it, and withdrew his head quickly. 
He dropped down beside Hannibal and took up the telephone. 

" It's the Third, sir. Come down for a minute." 

"Is it?" asked Hannibal. 

** StinkinV replied the Third. *' Now be a man, and say 
nothing to anybody. This is a business for the Chief. What 
made you come in here ? " 

" Saw the sea spitting on the side, sir." 

" Bully for you ! Here comes the Chief." 

He came, incredibly agile for so phlegmatic a man, four steps 
at a leap, swinging by the hand-rails like a monkey. 
What's to do," he asked, and the Third pointed. 
Put the Sanitary pump on deck. You go and take the 
hatches off quick," he added to Hannibal. 

As Hannibal knocked the wedges from the cleats and let the 
battens clatter on the deck, the Captain paused in his walk on 
the bridge and looked along at him. When the tarpaulins were 
folded back and the hatch lifted, and he saw Hannibal fall away 
from the opening. Captain Briscoe came down quickly. 

" Eh? " he said, bending over and touching the coal. " What's 
the matter? " 

" Chief told me to take it off, sir." 

A thin lazy thread of smoke crept out from among the lumps 
of fuel and blew away. The Chief came along from the engine- 
room. He had relapsed into his wonted taciturnity. He looked 
at the thread of smoke and searched for matches. 

"Going good," he commented. 

With a great slither the fire-hose was flung across the saddle- 
back hatch abaft the funnel, and began to straighten out with 
the urging of the water. The Chief put it into the coal. 

Soon they were all there. Bosun and mates, carpenter, engi- 
neers, all craning their necks to look at the hatch. The two 
apprentices, painting the ice box aft, looked on from afar with 
an agony of curiosity. Everybody knew it inside of five minutes. 
Who discovered it?" asked the Captain. 
The Third told me," said Mr. Hopkins, resenting the crowd 
about him. 

" The trimmer noticed the ship's side was hot." 

Immediately the rail was adorned with downward-looking 



It 
<« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 401 

heads. Hannibal felt self-conscious and rather glad. It is nice 
to feel you are some use after all. Captain Briscoe spoke low 
to the Chief. 

" All right," the latter nodded. " The best way is to wet it 
and try to smother it. Go down/' he said to the Fourth. " Go 
down and ease the pump. And tell the Third to watch his star- 
board bilges." 

Later in the day it became known that the fire was inex- 
tinguishable. Down there in the coal somewhere the combustible 
stuff had fretted into flame, and was burning with a dull solid 
glow, spreading, as they could tell by the hiss of the strake 
further forward and the discolouration of the ceiling in the 
engine-room. Rumours passed to and fro that they would have 
to stop. Mr. Cadoxton spoke of Singapore, and the Third Engi- 
neer gave a touch of science to the deliberation by mentioning 
spontaneous combustion. At the end of the day Singapore had 
become a certainty. They could not afford to pass a British 
port like this ; stories of oil ships on fire were at a premium after 
tea. 

It was something to talk about, at any rate. 

Hannibal came into the engine-room soon after midnight to 
fill his slush-lamp, and the Third told him they'd be in Singa- 
pore by dinner-time. The name seemed familiar to him. Of 
course! That was where Hiram's ship, the Cygnet, had been 
bound. It all came back to him. The picture of the ship in 
the office in Billiter Lane. The drone of the traffic out in 
Fenchurch Street, the twittering of the canaries, the cling' 
clash of the cash register. How infinitely far off that life 
seemed now! He could not help smiling as he recalled his 
dream of distant lands. Well, it was not so bad. It was 
different, certainly, from what he had imagined it, yet he was 
not disappointed. He was a man now, among men. Not so 
dusty either, when he came to think of it. He had sayyy, they 
said, at the mess-room table, and the Third treated him with 
cautious familiarity. Hannibal laughed when Sing^ore was 
mentioned, " 'cause I'd a friend of mine on a sailin' ship what 
went there," he explained to the Third. 

" Those are the passenger boats, the Samos, Lesbos, Chios, 
and Deles. White hull with buff funnel? I know them. I 
was Fifth of the Samos/' said the Third. "What d'you quit 
a job like that to come to sea for? " 



402 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Have yon ever had a job like that, mister? " 

"No such luck!" 

'* Well, it ain't so nice as it looks. I know / found it pretty 
slow. I don't mind work, so long I can get about and see 
things. I wanted to see Singapore, somehow." 

** You're a funny chap," said the Third. " What about get- 
tin' married? I thought you were all for the beach when we 
left Swansea." 

" So I am in a way. I don't know as I can explain how I 
feel about it," Hannibal replied, screwing the top of his lamp 
tight and wiping his hands with a piece of waste, " I always 
'ad a hankerin' to get away, only I didn't know 'ow to go 
about it." 

" It's a wasted life, I reckon," said the Third, looking up the 
windsail. 

Hannibal shook his head decidedly. "No it ain't, mister," 
he said. ** Not for us. It's the married men as gets the worst 
of it at sea, not us. I can see that." 

" And yet you're going to get married ! " 

" So ly hope," he returned simply. ** I expect 111 have had 
enough of this by then. But even suppose " And Hanni- 
bal put his finger on the Third's singlet. " Eyen suppose I did. 
I ain't going to say it's a wasted life." He wiped his forehead 
with the waste and put it down thoughtfully. 

The Third watched him stoop, lamp in hand, and open the 
iron door under the boilers. " He's a funny cuss," he mused, 
and looked up at the ceiling. '* 1 wonder if he's right." And 
he went round behind the engines to watch the evaporator. 

They anchored far out in the harbour at sundown, just as 
the last rays caught the gilded roofs and set them on fire. 
Hannibal lay on his pallet on the forecastle and watched it. 
Jan smoked beside him. All round the red ensigns were drop- 
ping from the poops and across the water came flying skiff's 
with many-coloured sails. 

" Look, Jan ! " he said, flinging out his hand. *' See that 
sky ? " Jan looked with moody eyes upon the purple and 
crimson glory of the western heavens, but his soul was dull 
within him. He had awakened in the lazaret, and found the 
handcuffs on his hands. " What was the use ? " he asked hino- 
self. He could not keep away from the drink. Every time 
he swore to reform, and every time the evil thing mastered 



4« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 408 

him. Up <m the bridge-deck Tommy was waving flags to the 
next steamer^ sending a message. Up and down and across 
the flags moved^ making the simple words by which the seaman 
calls to his brother-wanderer romid the world. Jan saw him^ 
and a strange look of longing came into the blue eyes. He 
turned to Hannibal. 

" Reckon the Old Man*ll send us ashore here? " he asked in 
a whisper. 

"I — I can't say," faltered Hannibal. He had heard a ru- 
mour that it might happen. 

"I won't go/' muttered Jan. "I'll sink flrst, so help me 
God! I've been in here." 

Don't say that," said Hannibal. 

Here/' said Jan, "you're next him, you are, I don't know 
why, but you are. One o' the sailors told me something. You 
speak the skipper. Tell him" — here he bowed his head and 
shook with a wheezing cough — "tell him I'm done for. I'll 
be finished anyway soon. Tell him no let me die in the cala- 
boosh. Eh, will you?" 

Hannibal looked at him carefully. His brown beard was 
long and dishevelled, his eyes dry and bright, and his month 
worked under the moustache. Hannibal remembered that since 
Sabang he had eaten nothing, turning with loathing from the 
contents of the kid. Suppose he could do this thing for an- 
other man? He might. It would be another step in the ascend- 
ing effort to full manhood. He nodded and put down his pipe. 

" I'll 'ave a shot at it/' he said, and went aft to the cabin 
door. 

Captain Briscoe was sitting at his little table, writing. 

" Come in," he said, when he heard the faint tap on the paneL 
" Oh, it's you ! What's the matter ? " 

Hannibal told him, and the Old Man stared at him in aston- 
ishment. 

" What's he to you? " he asked. 

" Just a chum, sir. 'E can't keep off the booze. 'E's been 
in quod 'ere before, 'e says, and 'e thinks it'll kill 'im. 'E's 
sick, sir, sometimes. If it don't make any difference to you, 
sir?" 

" What do I care about the scum? You ought to keep clear 
of that lot. A respectable man has to be careful." 

" They ain't so bad, sir/' he answered, lifting his hand in 



404 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

protest. " Only the booze sends them silly. They're men, 
any'ow." 

"Are they?" returned the Old Man bitterly. "A lot you 
know abont it. Jail's the place for them> I tell yon. Let them 
off, and they go and do the same thing again." 

" I don't reckon jail makes 'em any better, sir. If they got 
any friends, they'll feel bad about it, same as us." 

The Old Man remained silent, drumming on the table with 
his knuckles. 

" Is that why you came here to ask? " he enquired at length, 
and Hannibal nodded. 

" I'll see," said Captain Briscoe, and the young man went 
away with a curious feeling of gladness in his heart. It was 
nice to do a thing like that, if you had a chance. 

Jan's sickness was not a fake, as the Second, inured to fakes, 
grimly pronounced it. He took his watch all the five days 
they lay at anchor in Singapore, took it feebly for the first 
fortnight of the long pull up the China Seas. Hannibal helped 
him by working hard all his own watch, so that Jan had very 
little to do. But as they left the islands of Loo Choo melting 
into the blue Pacific, he lay in his bunk helpless, and breathing 
through dry, cracked lips. The Captain went along with the 
Steward and saw at once that the man was sick. He ordered 
them to carry him out and lay him on the hatch. A tarpaulin 
was put over the boom and hung over the edges, maldng a 
sort of tent with open ends. For two days Jan lay there^ 
drinking a little barley water, his eyes closed, his breath coming 
in irregular spasms, the face above the brown beard like death. 
Hannibal would creep in after tea and sit beside him, with his 
knees drawn up, smoking a companionable pipe. 

" 'Ow's things? " he would ask cheerily, and Jan would open 
his eyes and look straight up at the boom. Then he would close 
them again, while Hannibal told him the gossip of the day. On 
the third day his eyes were open, and looking for Hannibal. 
By his side was a milk pudding and a tumbler. One wasted 
arm lay across his chest, in the other was a key. 

" Eh? " said Hannibal. " What is it? " 

" Book in my bag. Little book. Savvy ? " 

He took the key obediently and, finding the bag, unlocked 
the brass ring that secured the neck, and felt in it for the book. 
Then he relocked the bag and returned to the hatch. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 405 

"This it?" he asked. 

Jan nodded, and whispered ''Open it/' 

Hannibal tamed over the leaves. It was in some strange 
language^ full of harsh cries, croonings, and abrupt dissonances. 
He shook his head doubtfully. The fly-leaf fell away, and he 
saw a photograph of a young woman. The print had been 
stuck in to the book by some unpractised hand, askew, and with 
a thumb-mark on the edge. Above was written in thin grace- 
ful characters, " Greta Noordhoff, Amsterdam, 1895." 

Hannibal looked up and saw the man's bright feverish eyes 
watdiing him. He put down his head. 

" You look at that picture ? " 

He looked at it again. The full oval of the face was framed 
in severely arranged hair, which deceived his inexperienced eye 
at first. But the eyes were unmistakable. He noticed the name 
again. ''Tommy?" he thought. 

" Yes," he thought to himself, in some excitement, almost 
forgetting the man who was watching his face. Yes, there were 
the same long-fringed eyelashes, the same shadows under the 
ejts, the same soft mouth and rounded cheek. 

" Who is it? " he asked. 

"Girl I told you was good to me. I went away, and she 
had a baby. When her mother got on to me for money I say 
I got none, see? I think it somebody else's. She died, same 
as I told you. Now you see that ! Savvy ? " 

" Yes," said Hannibal, " I savvy. I'll fetch him." 

He had not seen Tommy much of late, and now as he walked 
aft it occurred to him that he was bound upon an errand be- 
yond his powers. Here were man and boy, aliens, the man 
dying in a desperate plight of irreparable neglect, the boy very 
much alive and ignorant of the man's history. And he, Han- 
nibal Gooderich, only lately seller of tobacco in Billiter Lane, 
he was to go along to the boy and say to him, " That man on 
the hatch is your father. He's dying, and wants to speak to 
you." It was preposterous, a crazy dream. Tommy would tell 
him he was not plumb. And yet, there was the name, the date, 
the photograph. 

He went along the alley-way to his old room. The door was 
open, and the boy was sitting with a big red book on his knee, 
scribbling figures on a sheet of paper. He looked up with a 
smile. 



406 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Hello," he said. " What's de matter wid yon? " 

Hannibal stepped inside, closed the door, and sat down beside 
him. 

" You know that chap who trims on the foor-to-eight watch? ** 
he began. " 'E's a Dutchman." 

"He!" 

"Yes, and Vs dying. 'E's got a touch o' the fever 'e got 
out 'ere years ago, and the boose has crumpled him all up. 
'E's an Amsterdammer." 

" Hey ! " Tommy put down his book. 

'* Yes, and he's got a book there with a photo in it of a g^l, 
and the name's same as yours. It's — it's your mother, I 
reckon." The boy's face rcdazed. For him the situation, per- 
haps, was not quite so complex as it seemed. Say what you wiU, 
blood-ties are like blood-stains. They can be obliterate. The 
hardy convention of the ages still persists that the dark blotch 
on the floor remains so forever, that some deep ineradicable 
instinct drags forth the shuddering cry of " Father ! " But to 
this alien child, who had been sent begging around the ships 
as soon as he could walk, who had g^own as a sparrow grows, 
who had been beaten and starved and frightened by the black- 
guards of the sea, who loved where he was loved, and answered 
as a dog answers, to him the " call of the blood " was less than 
nothing. To him had come no accumulated tradition of par- 
entage, no childhood enervated by the delicately insidious busi- 
ness of family affection. It had been a slogging fight between 
a courageous young spirit and a cowardly old world. It was 
only natural that the love of his heart should go to the man 
who had stepped in and helped him in his struggle, who had 
seen with an artistic vision the eager young soid as he might 
be if he were put upon the road. What had he to do with a 
father? And so his face relaxed. He reached for his coat. 

'* I'll come," he said, and together they went forward to the 
hatch. The man lay as before, one hand across his chest, the 
other by his side, the top of the dishevelled head towards tiiem. 
The milk-pudding and the tumbler had not been removed, and 
they introduced a note of irreconcilable bathos, for he was dead. 
They saw that, and paused beneath the boom. It was as though 
the grim Spectre, seated in there beside his last victim, un- 
daunted by the milk-pudding, had raised his hand. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 407 

And BO, having sailed the seas for many jears, haying de- 
bauched the gifts of God, and the love of women, having avoided 
with incredible dexterity the esteem of man and the joy of 
accomplishment, Jan Ostode went out into the void. 



V « 



NINETY days after the Caryatid had crept out of the 
shadow of Staten Island^ her stockless anchors broke 
into the glassy surface of the Gulf of Osaka, and she 
was at rest. Only those who have been through the 
ordeal can have the dimmest comprehension of the sigh of relief 
that passed the lips of every one of the ship's company. The 
Caryatid herself seemed aware that for a little while at least 
she could brood upon her destiny unharassed by the insistent 
urge of her propeller; and the hoarse roar of the safety-valves, 
the white feather of steam that floated on the off-shore wind, 
intimated to her distant colleagues the fact of her achievement. 

The Third Engineer came up from the scarcely-endurable 
heat of the boiler-tops, where he had been shutting the mains, 
and looked out contemptuously upon the kingdoms of the im- 
memorial East. His colourless face was lined and stippled 
with black grease, and the bridge of his undistinguished nose 
was made diabolically incongruous by a patch of soot, scraped 
from some unnoticed projection. He stood there, in easy pose, 
neglectful of the chatter in the galley, incurious as to the ensign 
at half-mast which Mr. Cadoxton was hastening to pull down, 
and moving only when he heard a step behind him. Mr. Spink, 
his hair standing many ways, his torso glistening with friction, 
a bath towel around his shoulders, and a briar pipe hanging 
from his teeth, joined the Third in his contemplation of the 
Orient. 

" Spink, son," said the Third softly, *' call me at one bell, 
will you, as usual ? " 

" What on earth for ? " asked the young man. 

" Not for anything on earth, Spink, but for the heavenly 
glory of goin' to sleep again. Think of it, O my Spink! 
Ninety days have I kept the graveyard watch, and now, once 
more, I'm going to have an all night in. Oh! it's too good 
to be true." 

"You'd better go and get yourself washed then, instead of 

wasting valuable time," remarked the prosaic Spink. '' I'm gel- 

408 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 409 

ting into the hay right now. Well have to get bnsy on them 
pump-links in the morning. They've been bangin' something 
'orrible." 

*' Don't talk about it, Spink. Let the morning bring its own 
troubles. Let the giddy young Jesmond go round spyin' out 
unnecessary jobs. Use your time, while you've got it, free from 
responsibility. Behold the land of the Japanee ! " 

" I got the log-slate to write up," sighed the Fourth. " The 
Chief always grouses if I leave it till the morning, even if he 
don't enter it until next week. Ah ! " he put his elbows on the 
bulwarks and looked attentively at the shore-lights. " Say, 
Tich, this is some scenery, eh, lad ? " 

The Third nodded. In a vast semicircle lay the blue moun- 
tains crowding upon the twilight sea. From Hyogo, away west- 
ward, to the multitudinous brilliance that was Osaka, the lights 
ran round in interminable chains and galaxies. From the har- 
bour at Kob6 flared at intervals a crimson storm-signal, and 
electric tramcars, like golden beads on an invisible thread, slid 
back and forth, bursting ever and anon into blue fire as the 
trolley jumped the wires. High up, the lights of a monastery 
burned faintly, showing where sad-eyed monks looked out across 
the darkling sea. Over the water came the cries of the fisher- 
men, the shrill call of a locomotive, the plaintive clang of a 
mysterious bell. 

" Yes," said the Third with a yawn, " very pretty if it wasn't 
so far from Charing Cross. I suppose that's the launch going 
around the breakwater now." And he extended a finger to- 
wards Kob6. " I suppose he'll bring back the letters." 

" He will that," said Spink, and they went into the alley- 
way. 

" I was beginning to think," remarked the Third, as he drew 
the red ball-fringed curtain across the door of their room, " that 
I should never be respectable again. I'm not sure now whether 
I've got a clean collar to go ashore in. How fortunate, Spink, 
that we both take fifteens ! " 

Mr. Hopkins, removing a three-days' growth from his chin, 
was more concerned about his boilers, I think, than anything 
else. The Second, leaning against the door-jamb, his head and 
body in shadow, his face in the light, like a dreadful mask, out- 
lined in a monotonous undertone his campaign of toil. Mr. 
Cadoxton patrolled the deck overhead, and unfolded to the Sec- 



410 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

ond Mate his theorj that the Old Man was a victim of prema* 
ture senile decay. 

" Take my word for it, Charlie," he said, as they walked to 
and fro, "if he doesn't get good news he will be a dithering 
idiot before we get home." 

" Yes, it's nervous tension," said the fat Second Mate, who 
had a habit of startling people by asking if they had read 
Herbert Spencer. " That's what it is — nervous tension." Mr. 
Cadoxton laughed lightly. 

" Under the circumstances," he replied, " I think we may call 
it that." 

It was nearly half-past nine when, stopping for the hun- 
dredth time to scan the dark waters of the bay with his night- 
glasses, Mr. Cadoxton detected the approach of a sampan un- 
der sail, and moved to the head of the accommodation-ladder. 
The craft came around in a circle towards the steamer, the 
tiny lantern on the rail sending out an eerie radiance. As 
she seemed about to strike the ship end-on, for the off-shore 
breese was blowing freshly, the bamboo gaff slipped down and 
the sail fell in soft folds about the dim, naked form of the 
boatman. A few skilful manipulations of the big stem oar 
brought the boat to the foot of the ladder, and Captain Briscoe 
came slowly up the steps. Mr. Cadoxton, peering over the 
rail, watched him with intelligent interest. The Captain's head 
came in line with a lighted port, and appeared a moment as a 
vivid intaglio. As he stepped upon the deck, and you coold 
tell he was the Captain by the way he did that seemingly sim- 
ple thing, he handed the Third Mate a bundle of letters and 
newspapers. Mr. Cadoxton, offering his arms for the load, 
looked his commander in the eyes. 

" Everything all right, sir," he observed. 

" Where's the Mate? " said the Captain in a strong vibrating 
voice. He stood solidly on his feet, his broad figure blad^ 
against the gangway lantern, the cigar in his fingers glowing. 
The Chief Mate came down from the chart-room. 

" I want to speak to you," said the Captain in the same 
domineering tone. " Get the men out " 

They walked off together, and Mr. Cadoxton, putting the 
mail down on a hatch, blew his whistle for aid in drawing up 
the accommodation-ladder. The Second Mate came over the 
deck from his room on the port side. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 411 

'' Letters^" he crooned^ turning them over. One by one the 
crew came up, holding eager hands. 

" Here yon are. Botun, Borgan, Skettles, Bathome — who's 
Rathomef — Nffttrom, Noordhoff, Hutchin9 — that's the Mate 
— MacCuthery, Angelatot, Stolypin, here yon are. . • ." 

Some, leaning towards the lantern, held but one thin letter, 
others had three or four; some, lonely shell-badLS, took away 
a bundle of newspapers but no letters. The pride of tl\e8e 
men, their simple chuckling pleasure in receiving their quota, 
their good-humoured triumph oyer some eager shipmate who 
waited patiently until the distribution was over and found noth* 
ing for him, was a curious sight. And very soon the bridge- 
deck was deserted. In top bui^, in lower bunks, in the galley, 
in rooms with curtained doors, men sat and pored over intimate 
communications, public trials, news of fire and flood in that far- 
off country across the world. Mr. Cadoxton, seated on the 
Second Mate's chest of drawers, lit a cigarette. 

"Did you hear him, Charlie? WeU, he was terse. There 
is no other word for it. Never even answered me. It's my 
opinion, Charlie, that the nervous tension you spoke of is 
relaxed. He's got his grip again. He'll be nosing around in 
his pyjamas at five o'clock to-morrow morning." And he sent 
the smoke in fine jets through his nostrils^ The fat Second 
Mate folded a letter and sighed. " Let him nose," he re- 
marked. " I've forgotten more about my work than he can tell 
me. 

Captain Briscoe, having astonished his chief officer by a 
number of unnecessary orders concerning the breaking of bulk 
early on the following day, unlocked his room and entered, 
shutting the door after him. As he proceeded to divest him- 
self of his shore- clothes, he whistled a tune. He even paused, 
half-naked, to pour out a glass of whisky. As his head emerged 
from the singlet, he smiled into the mirror. He took a photo- 
graph from over his bunk and kissed it. When his sleeping suit 
was adjusted, he lit a fresh cigar, took a packet of letters and 
newspapers from his leather case and extended himself on the 
settee. Once again he went delightfully through the letter he 
had already perused a dozen times. 

It could not be called a long letter, the small neat hand- 
writing only covered three sides of the thick square paper. 
Minnie, in her imperturbable way, discounted the incident which 



412 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

had given her husband so much misery. It was true she had 
been down to Westminster, with a petition. 

An old friend of hers, a Mrs. Wilfley, had taken her down 
there. And in the uproar that followed they had been arrested 
along with many other innocent women. One of the witnesses 
was Sir Anthony Gilfillan, m.p., who knew Mrs. Wilfley very 
well, and he had bailed them out, had given evidence that thej 
were innocent. It was very foolish of her husband to take sndi 
a thing seriously. She belonged to a Woman's Club, bat she 
had no sympathy with window-breakers. She and Mrs. Wilflej 
were suffragists, but not suffragettes. She was going on very 
well at her flat. Her mother lived with her, and she would be 
glad when he came home. She missed him. 

It was flawless in its restraint, its quiet undercurrent of 
humour, its complete comprehension of his state of mind. The 
last paragraph was redolent of her personality. 

" You know, George, I never had the gift of the ' gab * very 
strong, and writing letters tires me. But I should like yoo to 
know that I think too much of your opinion to do anything 
that would hurt you, even if you never heard of it. I do 
really. And if I could explain, which would do no good, you 
would understand what that means sometimes. Good-bye, dear, 
write to me as soon as you arrive. I was at Mrs. Wilfley's 
flat the other day to tea, and a gentleman was telling us about 
Japan. I almost wish I was with you. It must be a beautiful 
place. I do miss you sometimes." 

That was one letter. The gem of the collection, he thought, 
as he laid it down reverently. The next one was shorter, posted 
a week later. It referred to her brother. She didn't quite 
know what it was he was doing, but he had thrown up his job 
and gone to sea. She knew now he was on the Caryatid, Her 
mother thought he might be in danger as he had written say- 
ing he might be put on the fires. Wliat in the world was that? 

Captain Briscoe laughed happily to himself. His mind 
leaped the months before he would be home again. This was 
September. By Christmas? It was possible. To the mariner, 
getting paid off for Christmas is a foretaste of Heaven. It is 
a lovely mirage held ever before his eyes by a sardonic Fate. 
Captain Briscoe had not had a Christmas at home for eighteen 
years. He had sailed out of Leith in a snowstorm on Christmas 
Eve, he had run ashore in the Savannah River, in a fog;, oo 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 418 

Christinas mornings and remained there for two days. He had 
every reason to be suspicious of that festival. Nevertheless he 
lay on his settee making hasty mental calculations. Certainly 
they ought to do it if they got despatch in Java. Even if they 
went to a Continental port he would get over for Christmas. 

His mind reverted to the letter concerning the young fellow. 
Minnie could not be expected to understand the enormous gulf 
between her husband and her brother on the Caryatid, He 
smoked hard as he tried to think of some way in which he could 
act upon her hint. He shook his head. It was not possible. 
And after all, the young fellow was all right. He seemed quiet, 
civil, sober, contented. He expected nothing. When they were 
paid off, then he might do something. But here it would be 
subversive of all discipline if the Captain interfered with the 
Black Squad. He decided it could not be done. 

He had gone ashore that afternoon with the dead body of 
Jan Ostade, neatly wrapped in canvas, and had superintended 
the formalities which that troublesome individual had imposed 
upon him by dying within sight of land. It is to be surmised 
that Captain Briscoe did not feel much of this minor tragedy 
of the sea. When you have lived in the forecastle, where men 
die at the most inopportune moments, and are shot over the 
bulwarks without benefit of clergy, you cannot set aside your 
own personal troubles to weep over a foreign trimmer. Sym- 
pathy stretched to cover so wide an area grows thin. To Cap- 
tain Briscoe, inasmuch as his charge of the incubus ceased as 
he received his letters, it was as though the man had been a 
source of bad luck to the ship. With an entry in his log and 
a declaration before the Consul his responsibility ended. 

But to Hannibal, seated in his customary place against the 
windlass, the matter was not to be so dismissed. He felt it 
more even than did. Tommy, who was at an age when tragedy 
is an irksome conimdrum. Hannibal tried to comprehend the 
workings of Fate, tried to fathom the sublime mystery of death. 
In the dim recesses of his mind, he fumbled for the key to the 
enigma. He remembered that away back in childhood, in the 
days when he had played about Maple Avenue with little 
Hiram, he had been able to look with unfrightened eyes into 
the phantom world where mysterious shapes moved to and fro. 
Why could he not see them now? It puszled him, as it has 
puzzled many of xa thoughtful folk> this paradox^ that the move 



414 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

we leam the less we seem to know. He had a sadden and tear- 
blinded yision of the innumerable failures, the incredibly fool- 
ish failures, with which the progress of the world was strewn. 
He remembered, as he sat there smoking in the darkness^ tiiat 
pamphlet of the Pallas Athene School, Raising the Dead. Was 
it possible that those sharp efficient people were right? Was 
it entirely the fault of Jan and Mr. Grober, and his own father^ 
that they had gone down the Dolorous Way that leads to ulti- 
mate failure and oblivion? He wondered. 

And then another vague idea grew up in his mind, an idea 
that perhaps a man's life was not a complete thing in itself, that 
perhaps it was but a bead on a string, a link on a chain, the 
visible part of an invisible continuity. In the light of that 
thought, death seemed a small and theatrical affair. Was that, 
then, a solution? It did somehow link up the confusing acci- 
dents of existence. It did make the pain seem less sharp. The 
essential product of one's life was indestructible, and lived on. 
Jan was dead. Tommy was very much alive. 

It had not taken him long to read Nellie's letter. Miss Ffitt's 
fluency of speech communicated itself to her correspondence. 
To tell the truth, she was one of those who endeavour to conceal 
a tendency to ramble by means of dashes. Old Snickery was a 
drunken old beast. She sometimes wished herself bade in 
Cardiff — fancy that ! She was talking of a certain Mr. Goode- 
rich to a friend of hers the other night — did his ears bom? 
She saw Girtie the other night — how was that ittle cherub of 
a sailor-boy with the foreign name? — She was out at the Mum- 
bles with her sister-in-law last Sunday — only day she could 
get off — it made her very anxious, now she held the licence — 
if anything happened — and anything might happen when those 
mates and engineers got going — such a time the other night! 
The barmaids were frivolous things — needed a tight hand. 

It is rather refreshing to find artlessness in correspondence 
in our time. Miss Ffitt wrote very much as if she would have 
written five thousand years before — in jerky pictures whidi 
were quite unintentionally arresting, and sometimes funny, as 
when she described a German captain with "a carroty b^ird, 
a beetroot nose, and onion eyes — but very well bred." Or 
the mate of a Scotch sailing-ship, who spent the whole evening 
over one glass of whisky — " it was a very close night.** She 
made no endeavours after tenderness at all, though I thjuy ber 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 415 

simple conclusion^ praying that the Lord stand between them 
while they were absent one from another^ indicates with a cer- 
tain naiVe charm and dignity the plane of her permanent emo* 
tion. 



SHE came into view slowly, for she was deep laden and 
the tug was contemptibly small. Across the burnished 
floor that led the eye into the intolerable brilliance of the 
Inland Sea, she came reluctantly, her yards thicl^ with 
blobs that were men, her sides cluttered with sampans. Sbc 
seemed to hang back, as indeed she did in that current, like 
some beautiful sensitive creature ashamed of the noisy vulgarity 
of the tug, whose stubby funnel belched a rolling fuliginous 
vapour and whose whistle sent forth a raucous and disquieting 
bray. As she drew nearer and, simultaneously with the fall of 
the anchor the sun dropped behind the shoulder of the Hill of 
Hyogo, the still water changed from shining bronze to a clear 
silver, and hull and spars showed up sharply like a dry point 
etching against an amber sky. With a valedictory shriek the 
insufferable tug swept round and made off in the direction of the 
breakwater^ and the ship, coming up by indistinguishable grada- 
tions upon her clanking cable, took on an aspect of repose, 
which received its final confirmation from the dispersal of the 
sampans, and the slow ascent of a riding light in the rigging. 
She lay a mile to the westward, and Mr. Cadoxton^ viewing 
her through his binoculars, informed the curious that she was 
the Cygnet of London, an unusually fine ship. 

Hannibal, hanging underwear to dry on the fiddle-grating* 
heard the information with pleasure blent with a species of 
diffidence. His appreciation of the infinitely subtle sense of 
caste that runs up through the ranks of the Merchant Service 
was too just to permit any dallying with the notion of the well- 
bred sailing ship apprentice receiving a steamship trinuner witii 
unfeigned joy. He knew as well as Captain Briscoe now, that 
you cannot do as you like in such matters. It would, have been 
nice to go ashore with an old friend, he admitted, and sighed. 
It would be nice to go ashore anyway. This was Friday. He 
reflected. To-morrow he would receive ten shilling. He did 

not want to go ashore urgently, and yet he felt restless. Since 

416 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 417 

they were arrived at the end of the voyage he had tried to 
take up reading again^ having got a bundle of shilling novels 
from the Third Engineer. Perhaps the Third Engineer was 
not quite the man to lend a young fellow books, for his taste in 
literature was sophisticated. Hannibal had a feeling of un- 
easiness as he read some of those novels, as though he were 
being forced to peer through the keyhole of a bedroom door. 
It was not that what he read was so very shocking. It was 
going on all the time anyhow, he agreed to himself. It was 
the way they put it, " they " being in the most cases ladies. 
Further analysis eluded his untutored mind. The stimulating 
effect upon his imagination was the root cause of his restless- 
ness. 

They were going to make a party in the forecastle, to econo- 
mise in the matter of sampans, it being clearly understood that 
on setting foot ashore each one should be free to go as he pleased. 
Angelatos asked Hannibal if he was going with anybody, and 
he answered quietly that he was on his own. 

"I'll go with you," announced the Greek. " Tees fellows 
all bums." Hannibal reflected that if he really desired to see 
life and put in what the Third called " a pretty tough evening," 
Angelatos was the man. 

But he did not so desire. The rough work in the furnaces 
and combustidn-chambers, the stifling and blinding toil of tube- 
sweeping was not to be compensated by an insensate carouse. 
He had seen Angelatos in his cups, and the sight was not a 
beautiful one. And yet it was obvious, that, in his own poor 
way, the man was desirous of going ashore with a respectable 
shipmate who might perchance keep him away from evil. " Tees 
fellars all bums " was a plain though tactless condemnation of 
the others. 

Allowing for the difficulty of keeping a suit of clothes in a 
canvas bag, Hannibal presented a fairly decent appearance as 
he stood waiting for the sampan. Captain Briscoe, patrolling 
his bridge, obsei:ved with satisfaction the young man's respecta- 
bility. Collars were a rarity in the fireman's forecastle, and 
Hannibal, unlike the Third, had made certain of his, and it 
chafed his brown neck with unaccustomed severity. Angelatos, 
in a suit of violent stripes and a purple silk scarf knotted at 
the throat, leaned negligently against the rail, a cigarette be- 
tween his lips. Captain Briscoe came down the ladder. 



418 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"Get forward if you want to smoke/' he ordered stemlj, 
and the big Greek, flinging the offending thing into the tea, 
moved away with a muttered imprecation. Hannibal met the 
Old Man's eye tranquilly. 

" Better keep clear of that lot/' said the Captain. ** TbeyH 
get you into trouble." 

" I'll watch that, sir/' he answered. 

The sampan arrived soon after and they all descended, some- 
what abashed before the supercilious gaae of Mr. Cadozttm, fall- 
ing over each other as they stepped upon the bobbing gunwale. 
The naked boatman heaved his sail, and as they cleared the 
ship's side the breese bore them across towards the CygueU 
under whose stem they would pass. Hannibal looked out eagerly 
as they neared her. She seemed much smaller than when in 
the London Dock. Only when beneath her did he appreciate 
again the enormous span of her main yard and the periloiis 
height of the masts. And then he saw Hiram and waved his 
hand excitedly. The young man was leaning over the side 
and answered involuntarily, as one will. With some surprise 
Hannibal found the sampan rounding the stem and steering 
for the Cygnet's ladder. The boatman lowered his sail, seised 
a rope flung out to him, and made fast. Hannibal came to a 
decision. He grasped the rope-handrail and stepped out. The 
boatman took a basket from under the seat and handed it to 
him, pointing upward. 

" Hi! " caUed Angelatos. " Where goin'? " 

" See a friend o' mine," replied Hannibal, holding the basket 
firmly. *' See you later." And he climbed the ladder. 

" Several brown faces appeared over the bulwarks and exam- 
ined him curiously as he ascended. A man with a full black 
beard under a peaked cap held out his hand for the basket. 

''I'm off the Caryatid/' Hannibal explained. Already the 
sampan was standing away towards the breakwater. '* The 
boatman gi' me this. There's a friend o' mine — oh, there he 

is!" 

Hiram came up, a brown hand extended. 

" Friend of mine, sir," he explained to the Mate, who nodded 
and went aft. " Well ! " Hiram went on. " Where on earth 
have you sprung from? I thought you were working in Lon- 
don." 

" Don't you remember? " asked Hannibal, smiling. '' I asked 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 4ia 

yon — that day I come down to the docks — about gettin' a job 
on a ship?" 

" I never gave it a thought/' said Hiram. " Come into our 
room." He led the way along to the forecastle. " I can't wait 
now. We're just going to wash decks. Will you wait here till 
we're through ? We shan't be long." 

Hannibal nodded and sat down. He felt somewhat shy in 
the midst oi all the spotless cleanliness of the sailing ship after 
the unavoidable dirt of a steamer. He found himself looking 
up at a photograph of Mrs. Gaynor^ and the 'sight of it brought 
back with a vivid clearness the life in Maple Avenue. Her 
calm amiable features^ with the slight touch of ironic resignation 
in the comers of the mouthy reminded him^ by contrast, of his 
mother. He had always been the least little bit afraid of Mrs. 
Gaynor. She savoured of the efficient class somewhat. He re- 
membered dimly conversations^ mainly monologues, in which she 
had advised his mother of "the best way" to do things. She 
had even commented upon the folly of putting collars on chil- 
dren, and he recalled little Hiram's blue woollen jerseys. Ob- 
viously his mother attached too much importance to appearances. 
He turned his neck irritably in his collar as it scratched him. 

It was not long before he heard the swishing of water on 
the deck, the brief orders of the bosun^ the pattering of bare 
feet and the scrubbing of brooms. Out on the water the Caryatid 
lay, strangely insignificant He fell to wondering if he had 
done wisely in succumbing to that great desire to go out and 
see the world. He was seeing it sure enough; but was he 
happy? He decided that, taking it all in eSl, he was. And 
then he thought with anticipating pleasure of going ashore with 
Hiram. Hiram had changed vitally to Hannibal's eyes since 
boyhood. This was natural. Three years at a grammar school 
are potent factors in any personal equation. He had a *' tone " 
which Hannibal was sensitive to appreciate but too untutored 
to ape. When he came in, his trousers rolled to his knees, 
his legs wet with salt water, his grey eyes smiling^ Hannibal 
felt that he had not made a mistake in acting upon that im- 
pulse and coming aboard. But he set out to make quite sure. 

" I say," he said, " I came aboard 'ere accidental, you know, 
I didn't think the sampan was comin' alongside." 

"Well, I'm very glad you did, Hanny. Here's my chum. 
Harry, you remember this chap in London?" 



420 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

*' I saw him come aboard^" said the brawny youth, shaking 
hands. " How d you like the briny ocean ? " 

" It's none so bad/' said Hannibal. " What I was goin' to 
say/' he went on to Hiram, " is that I'm in the fo'c'sle on the 
Caryatid. I'm — a trimmer." 

" What a job! " exclaimed Hiram. " Pretty thick, isn't it? " 

''Ah, at times. But I soon got sick o' wasliin' cUshes. I'm 
tellin' you 'cause I know what the deck thinks . . ." His eye 
wandered to their faces. Harry Grantly, working socks on to 
his damp feet, grunted. 

'* I've been scraping the bilges in the fore-peak all the morn- 
ing," he said. " I don't know what trimming's like, but if it's 
anyway worse than bilges you have my sympathy." 

" Or guano/' said Hiram, holding his nose. 

" You understand ? " said Hannibal. " Or p'raps you don't. 
What I mean is, deck keep to themselves on a steamer, and 
don't 'ave any truck with the firemen. I don't blame 'em either/* 
he added. " They're a pretty tough lot" 

" Were you going ashore? " asked Hiram. 

"Yes. Are you?" 

"What is it, Harry? Beach to-night?" 

" Might as well. We'll take a walk up to the Quarter, eh ? " 

"Where's that?" Hannibal asked, and they laughed. 

" Don't you know ? " said Hiram, and they laughed again. 

" I've heard," remarked Hannibal, and flushed. " I've never 
been to any o' those places, though." 

" Oh/' said Harry, peeling. ** We just go and have a look 
round, you know." 

" I see." 

They laughed again. 

They began to talk of their voyages, and Hannibal told 
them of the Caryatid'^ long pull across the world, the fire in 
the bunkers, the dust-up in Sabang, and all the little incidents 
that make up the simple annals of the sea. And they in their 
turn told him of their manifold wanderings, of wonderful places 
like Rangoon and Hong-Kong, places with names that rever- 
berated in the mind like the solemn boom of a temple bell. He 
found it very pleasant to talk to these hard-bitten, clean-limbed 
youths with the brown faces and clear, steady eyes. They had 
acquired a certain quiet dignity, engendered of their long lonely 
cruising, that sat quaintly enough upon their young shoulders. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 421 

Had you compared them in your mind with a couple of clerks, 
you would have seen the enormous gulf that lay between. There 
was a precision of speech and gesture, a sureness of touch, an 
expression of energy in repose in the boyish features that is the 
inalienable heritage of the sea. 

It was when they were ashore that Hannibal found it more 
difficult to absorb the full spirit of their emancipated outlook. 
" I'm engaged," he protested, when they plagued him with the 
sailor's catechism, and the dull red flush mounted to his cheeks. 
He followed them in a sort of panic. The heat, the dust, the 
multitudinous sounds and colours, the jolting of the rick-shaw 
over the uneven roadways, the astounding vistas of temple- 
gardens and the vivid blue of the mountains beyond — these 
things disturbed his wonted balance. And he realised with a 
certain subconscious shame that in the panic was pleasure. He 
felt as though he stood before a great gaudy curtain hung across 
the pathway of life, and he trembled all over as he thought 
of what lay behind. By obscure yet infallible channels he un- 
derstood that these two young men had already explored this 
exquisite secret. 

As in a dream he foimd himself with them in a strange room 
up a dark stairway. It was dark now, and the semi-transparent 
wall glowed with the light of a lamp in the room beyond. 
They sat there on chairs, their faces showing dimly to one 
another in the strange twilight. At times a form would sud- 
denly grow enormous on the paper-screen, fade away, and van- 
ish with the inconsequence of a nightmare. A small figure ap- 
peared abruptly, a sharp silhouette that reached out a hand. 
The panel slid silently. 

" Here tliey come," said Harry. 

They came, three dark heads bowed low in a line, three 
quaint little creatures in kimonos of violet, orange, and pink, 
with vivid splashes of crimson, with fans fluttering in their 
tiny hands, with hair coiled so firmly it seemed carved in jet. 
They came in little runs, smiling out of inscrutable almond 
eyes. The young men watched, as though the East held them 
in its mysterious grasp. Hannibal heard the low musical mur- 
mur of a gong. The whole thing was preposterously unreal. 
He remembered his dreams of what seemed centuries ago. 
Dreams of fair creatures who were his slaves, phantoms of the 
night. They were cold logic compared with this tiny being who 



422 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

floated to him, whose porcelain skin caressed his face, and whose 
baby arms crept about his neck. He felt suddenly the enormous 
humour of the thing. He was a Gulliver among these Lilliputian 
women. He burst out laughing. Here was richness of expe- 
rience. Here indeed went up in flames the last of the Little 
Brown Box. None again could say he had not liyed. . . • 

The nmrmur of the gong rose and fell on the air. There 
[ was a nervous quality in the sound that made him laugh. He 

felt that otherwise he would be unable to look across and meet 
his companions' eyes. 

"You love me?" cooed the strange little creature, pinching 
his ear. He looked round before answering and found a paper 
wall obstrucing his view. 

You love me, eh? " persisted the girL 

You," he said, patting her cheek. "Why, you look as if 
you'd come off a Christmas tree, you funny little bag^ge.'* 

" You no love Jappy gel? " she said, with her eternal smile. 
"All same. Chop?" 



<4 



XXI 

THEY were sixteen days out from Shlminoseki^ going 
eleven knots. Captain Briscoe and Mr. Cadoxton ex- 
changed trite irrelevances to relieve the tedimn of the 
watch. 

"What's the matter with him anyway, sir?" 

'* Blest if I know. I thought — 'pon my word, at one time it 
was cholera. But it would show itself before now if it was." 

" He was jolly sick. I heard him chattering away in that 
spare berth one night. Absolute rot, of course." 

Captain Briscoe took a turn up and down the bridge. Mr. 
Cadoxton, smiling in the darkness, examined the horison with 
care through his night glasses. 

" See it? " said the Captain. 

" Nothing so far, sir." 

"Ought to raise it soon. We'll be at anchor by breakfast- 
time. What was he talking about?" 

"Well, I hardly care to say, sir. A man says anything in 
delirium, you know." 

" What was it? Anything about me? " 

"As a matter of fact, it was, sir. That was why I didn't 
care to repeat it. He was quite ' all abroad.' " 

" Shows how murder will out, eh? " 

" I haven't repeated it, sir," replied Mr. Cadoxton, and he 
resumed his scrutiny of the darkness. Captain Briscoe went 
into the chart room and studied the Madura Strait. He had 
never been through here before, but he was under no anxiety. 
It was absurdly simple for a ship in ballast. The soundings 
near the point were somewhat vague, certainly, but the light 
on the shoal to the eastward was clear. It would be a feather 
in his cap if they caught the charter, and here they were nfty 
miles from port, with two days in hand. He had promised 
each one of the black squad a pound if they made Sourabaja 
in seventeen days. It was good going for the old Caryatid, 
with her bottom curtained and festooned with weed and shell. 
He relit his cigar and went out again into the night. 

" There they are, sir," murmured Mr. Cadoxton, and pointed. 

There they were indeed, dead ahead. 

423 



424 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



" Not so bad/' remarked Captain Briscoe. 

" Very good^ sir/' assented the young man. " The currents 
are beastly hereabouts. I was ashore a week on Laut Island, 
three years ago." 

" Laut's a day behind. I am going to keep as near the shoal 
as I can. I don't like that end of Madura at all." 

" No, sir." 

The Old Man struck a match and relit liis cigar. The Third 
Mate observed a look of pride in his face. 

" I told you that story was all a fake, in the papers about 
my wife?" Captain Briscoe began. 

" Oh, yes, sir." 

" You see, it don't do to take these things too much at heart, 
does it? I knew my wife wouldn't do a thing like that. She's 
not that sort." 

" No, sir." 

" Now the young feller has been telling things about me in 
his delirium, I suppose you think you've got a pull on me, 
eh?" 

" I shouldn't put it that ,way, sir. As I said, I have not 
repeated it, and have no intention of doing so. Hadn't we bet- 
ter shift her half a point to the west'ard, sir ? " 

" No, keep her as she is. Go and look at the patient log" 
said the Captain in a sudden pet. Mr. Cadozton took an elec- 
tric torch from his pocket and fled away aft. Captain Briscoe 
went to the wheel-house and altered the course a point. 

" Forty-eight, sir. That's a hundred since noon," said Mr. 
Cadozton. 

" You see, Mr. Cadozton, I'm navigating this ship, I think." 

" Precisely, sir," said the young man stiffly, and moved away. 
The Captain came over and stood by him. 

" Forget it/' he said. " I get worked up, sometimes. You 
understand, Cadozton? Worked up. That young feller's Ill- 
ness has worried me." 

" Oh, don't mention it." Mr. Cadozton still spoke stiffly* 

" But I must. It isn't enough to know you won't say any- 
thing about what he said of me. What did he say? Out with 
it" 

" Merely that you were a relative of his by marriage^ sir. 
cant see 

"Nothing else?" 



it 
it 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 425 

Mr. Cadoxton was silent. He felt quite unable to say what 
else he had heard the sick man saying. One had to draw a line 
somewhere. 

" My God, Cadoxton ! Do you tell me " The Old Man 

broke off. 

** I didn't speak. Captain." 

"Then why don't you?" 

" Very unpleasant thing to discuss. Best to let it drop," said 
Mr. Cadoxton shortly. 

"But suppose you can't let it drop, Cadoxton? Suppose you 
had it with you day and night for months?" 
WeU, sir?" 

Well, Cadoxton, that's me. You heard things, did you? 
Well, / heard things, to my face too. I went in to see him one 
morning, and he says ' I can't make it out.' ' Can't make out 
what ? ' I asked him, and he says, clear as a bell, ' Sister ! ' I 
took his arm to put the thermometer under it, and he looked 
at mc like a scared kitten, and says, ' Why, I ought to have told 
'cm about you. You're the man,' he says. I tried to keep 
steady and shoved his arm down in the bunk. ' Keep quiet,' 
I said ; ' it won't hurt you.' ' Oh, no/ he said, laughing to 
himself. 'A little thing like that won't hurt me. My father's 
dead, my brother's dead, and here's me dead too. Sister's all 
right,' he said. * Catch her being dead. Wonder why mother 
ain't dead too, though? that's funny. I must ask the Old Man 
about that.' And so he went on. I couldn't stand it, and came 
out and got him a sleeping draught. You see what I'm going 
through? And it isn't as though it was just for the voyage 
either. It's for every voyage; it's for all time, Cadoxton." 

" I'm sorry, sir," said the young man, but he never took his 
eyes from the two lights ahead. 

" Some men," said Captain Briscoe, " would go over the 
side." He pulled himself together and laid his hand on the 
telegraph. " I knew a chief once who was in something of the 
same position. Came back to Swansea and found the girl he'd 
been leaving half-pay to — you've heard the story, eh? Ten 
years ! My God ! It got on his mind, you see. But I'm going 
to beat this, Cadoxton! I'm going to win this hand. You're 
young. You've got your tickets in your pocket, and all your 
life in front. You're pitying me, the poor fool of a shell-back 
that's done for himself by marrying out of his course. Well, 



426 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

you may be down and out yet^ but you'll find I'm still liring 
and sticking in at it. I've got one thing the women can't touch. 
I'm master, and I've never had an accident yet. Coal-fever I've 
had, but that's nothing. The Chief's to blame there. Up here 
my record's clean. That's all I live for now. Eh? what's 
that?" 

The look-out on the forecastle had shouted something. The 
fifteen-second light on the shoal threw a whitish green glare 
over the ship. 

" He says he can see the beach this side of the lighthouse, 
sir/' said Mr. Cadoxton. 

" Port," barked the Old Man, but it was too late. The bows 
of the Caryatid rose up as though she were rearing back from 
some unseen terror of the sea, and she rolled over to starboard 
and lay trembling. The Third Mate had dragged the handle 
of the telegraph to full astern, and the perspiring Spink, who 
had picked himself up from under the forced-draught fan, had 
the time of his life, throwing the reversing-gear over all alone. 
It was glorious, he thought They were ashore, and him on 
watch. No doubt about that. Look at the chatly hanging all 
askew in the ventilator. The Chief came pouring down the 
ladder, looked at the telegraph, found his pipe and hunted on 
the vice-bench for matches. 

" Let her rip," he muttered, puffing. " They've piled her up 
on a coral reef. Open the fan a bit." And he went up to look 
around. 

The Caryatid'* stem was in deep water, her bows were up 
on a beach of gleaming coral within two himdred yards of a 
steel-verandahed lighthouse. The heavy bucking of the pro- 
peller going astern at seventy revolutions palpitated throughout 
the empty ship. Mr. Hopkins peered over the side as the li|^t 
swung around. Far away below him he could see the white 
bunches of coral in the shallowing water. Humph! He be^ 
came aware of the Old Man standing beside him. 

"Nice little business, eh?" said the Captain, as though he 
were admiring a greengrocer's shop in a market town. " That's 
working by chart, you see." 

"Miss the charter?" 

" Looks damn like it. Here, Chief, just keep that, will yoa? 
Give it me back when we get home." 

Mr. Hopkins found something heavy drop into his pocket. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 427 

For some moments after the Captain had gone forward again, 
he remained motionless, looking over at the water pouring in 
torrents from the discharges. And then he withdrew for a mo- 
ment to his room. 

• •••••••• 

Hannibal, sleeping in the spare berth, woke to find his face 
pressed hard against the bulkhead. He turned his head and 
listened. Yes, the engines were going — how the ship trem- 
bled. Going — going astern. He sat up feebly. A faint glare 
flashed across the room, and vanished — came again — and van- 
ished. He felt the curtains of the bunk tickling his ears. He 
leaned over and turned up the lamp — it was leaning away 
from him drunkenly. His trousers on a hook on the wall dis- 
played the same crazy propensity. His thin frowsty face, with 
the brown eyes ringed with blue, leaned out over the bunk- 
board. Suddenly he realised that he might be in danger, and 
he lay back on the pillow. He heard footsteps pass his door 
hurriedly. He was forgotten. Languidly he put a white, bony 
leg over the board, then the other, and sat up pressing his 
hands over his eyes. He felt very weak and ill. Tommy had 
looked in that evening, and told him he'd been crazy for a 
week. Crazy ! What did Tommy mean by that ? Why, Tommy 
meant he had been talking queer and not knowing what he said. 
He could not remember. It made his head tired to think. 

Kob^? Yes, he could remember that. And a day or two in 
the bunkers. And then? No good. And he wanted a drink 
of water. Where was the bottle? Of course, empty. He put 
his head out to the chest of drawers, and explored with his left 
foot for the settee. Where was it, dammit? At last! 

Still the ship shivered, as the engines raced astern. He crept 
to the hooked door and looked through the crevice. A man., 
somebody, one of the crew, went past, and Hannibal called in 
a husky whisper, " Hi ! What's up, eh ? " But he did not hear. 
Every few seconds the light came in his face and made him 
flinch. He fumbled with the hook and the door slammed in his 
face. He sat down on the settee and fingered the sweat on his 
forehead. What should he do? He heard footsteps overhead, 
the hoarse growl of the bosun, the crack of a block striking the 
boat-deck. Boats ! They were getting the boats out. He made 
another efl'ort to rise, succeeded, and laid his thin hand on the 
door knob. It was stifl*, and when it turned he had to lean 



428 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

against it to get it open. He stepped out into the starlight, 
shivering. 

U]>on the bridge he saw figures moving about, other figures 
standing rigid, their elbows stuck out stiffly as they looked 
through glasses at the lighthouse. Two ruby red lights hung 
from the foremast rigging, one below the other. Then with 
a crack and a groan of protest the boat above his head swung 
out-board, and the bosun shouted, " Make fast" Hannibal saw 
some one squatting down against the funnel-casing. He crept 
along the bulkhead, shaking and with his teeth chattering, and 
spoke to the man. The light swerved around upon tliem, and 
he saw the flattened smiling features of the Japanese fireoian — 
Jan's successor. 

"What's matter, Jappy?" he whispered, and the Oriental 
smiled, showing all his teeth. He clashed his hands together, 
with a gesture of collision, and pointed overside. Hannibal 
stumbled to the rail and looked down. The tide was going 
out and the Caryatid's port bow was high and dry. She was 
tilted and listed horribly. And the engines had stopped. 

The sailors came down from the house and drifted aft to get 
out a tow rope. Tommy was one of them, and he ran up to 
Hannibal, his eyes bright with excitement. 

" She's ashore, all right, all right," he spluttered. " See de 
bottom? Dere! Nearly hit de lighthouse. In de morning we 
goin' to de lighthouse. I'm going. Dey speak Dutch." 

He ran away after the others and left Hannibal on the 
bunker hatch. He wondered what he should do. It seemed 
wrong somehow to go back to his bunk while all the rest "were 
busy. He struggled to his feet and went slowly along the alley- 
way abaft the engine-room. The Chief was standing there 
talking to the Second, who was in his pyjamas. 

" What are you doin' out here ? " they asked him. The 
harshness of their voices appalled him. He leaned against the 
house. 

"Can't — can't I do anythin', sir?" he quivered, and they 
laughed brutally. 

" Get away and turn in," said the Second, taking his arm. 
Hannibal resented this weakly. 

" Are they going to leave me 'ere ? " he asked, hanging back« 

"Aw, go on wi' ye! What's the matter, man? We don't 
quit a ship because she's ashore. Come on! Here you are. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 429 

Now get in and go to sleep. Well be off in the morning." 

But it was not so. When the dawn rushed over the Java 
Sea^ the Caryatid lay there^ sullenly indifferent to charters^ 
engines^ everything. The Mate had lowered a kedge anchor 
into a boat^ and rowing off had dropped it in deep water. 
And then with the winch he had hauled it in again^ a few rags 
of weed and crumbs of coral hanging to the flukes. Three 
times he did it^ and then desisted. A small Dutch gun-boat> 
grey-white in the dawn, all awning and brass hand-rails, hove 
to and offered to tow. She towed and towed, her screw kick- 
ing the blue water into useless effervescence, and the Caryatid 
lay on, disdainful of gun-boats, her nose sticking up rudely to 
the opaline sky. And to-morrow her charter expired. 

At six o'clock Mr. Cadoxton, his usually ruddy face grey 
from lack of sleep, took a crew of four, including the linguistic 
Tommy, and rowed over the shallows to the spidery lighthouse. 
It was like a many-verandahed bandstand, and they could see 
the occupants swinging in hammocks. Far off on the silent wa- 
ter, black proas, with vast multicoloured three-cornered sails 
hovered like enormous butterflies. Up on the bridge. Captain 
Briscoe walked swiftly to and fro, his hair and beard criss- 
crossed, his hands clenched in his pockets in impotent rage, 
counting the never-ending minutes as the Third Mate gesticu- 
lated with the lighthouse-keeper. At last they descended the 
invisible iron ladder, cast off and began to row back. He went 
down, and waited by the ladder, as Mr. Cadoxton came up hand 
over hand. 

** Well? " he asked, his voice harsh with anxiety. 

" He says, according to Noordhoff, sir, that the highest tide 
of the year is to-morrow morning. She may come off." 

" How many fathom? " 

" Three and a quarter metres, sir — that's well over ten feet." 

Captain Briscoe turned away. 

"All hands there!" shouted the Third Mate. "Now!" 

And the boat came up, the blocks screaming over Hannibal's 
head. 

At breakfast, Mr. Hopkins sat in his accustomed place, eat- 
ing the dry toast of the bilious. The low hanging brass cuddy 
lamp, that formed the only ornament of the room, was swung 
forward into his face. He ignored it in his impassive way. 
Spink, still flushed with the excitement of being "down be- 



II 



430 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

low at the time/' found it necessary to prop his plate np with 
a piece of bread to keep the porridge in. It was an irksome 
business sitting at such an angle. Suppose she rolled over! 
The Third's glassj eye fixed on the boy as he put the fish 
on the table^ a phlegmatic irresponsive boy^ impervious to hints^ 
and cherishing a permanent grievance because he had been trans- 
ferred from the Steward's pantry to tlie mess-room. He re- 
turned the Third's stare without emotion. 

" Suppose she rolls over ! " said the Third. " You remember 
that Italian ship at Spezia^ Chief? Brand new^ launched with- 
out ballast^ went over on her side. 'Straordinary thing that: 
took half an hour to do it too. They got a cinematograph down 
and made a film of it. There she is now." 

Mr. Hopkins looked into his tea^ merely raising his eye- 
brows. 

Ah, but Tich, that was different, man/' said the Second. 
We're in deep water aft. She isn't making any water. Did 
the Old Man say anything about lightening her. Chief? " 

" Two hundred ton/' gloomed the Chief, handing his cop to 
the boy, " after breakfast." 

More excitement! 

They were breaking open the hatch between the funnel and 
the bridge when the real fun with signals began. All the morn- 
ing coasting craft and fishing proas had hung about them, hun- 
gry for pickings. Some even landed on the coral by the light- 
house and obtained information. The gunboat had gone away 
up to Sourabaja for coal, incidentally taking word to the agents. 
The word flashed across the wires to Singapore, to Sues, to Malta, 
Marseilles, Hamburg, London. The price of sugar in England 
quivered a decimal point. A notice was np at Lloyds, giving 
her price at eleven guineas per cent for reinsurance. At noon 
she was still there, and the price was eighteen guineas. At tea 
time, just as the Fourth proposed a game of bridge and the 
Third Mate agreed to take a hand, silk-hatted men, running 
between the Baltic and Billiter Lane, spoke of twenty guineas 
per cent. 

But the real fun was not in the Baltic; it was on the Carya- 
tid, and the cause of it was the incoming string of steamers. 
One after another they hove into view — Dutch liners, German 
liners, British liners; they caught sight of the Caryatid, rushed 
up to her and burst into cascades of flags. As Mr. Cadoxton 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 481 

told the Second Mate^ *' You could see them licking their lips." 
Salvage ! 

Their enquiries were urgent and sincere. Do you want as- 
sistance? Shall I stand by? Send a boat! Do you need a 
tow? And so on. To all of which the Caryatid: *' Am all right 
Require no assistance/' They swung there^ reluctant to leave 
her, their rails lined with passengers, their innumerable port- 
holes sprouting white wind-scoops, their decks awninged from 
stem to stem. They would get tired at last, go astern and 
swing round, heading in disgust for Sourabaja. 

Meanwhile the coal eame up in baskets and splashed into 
the sea on either side. All day long Hannibal heard the rum- 
ble and bump of the barrows in the 'tween-decks below him, 
the splutter of the winch and the dry hiss and plop as the 
coal hit the water. All day long he lay there in his bunk turn- 
ing things over in his mind. Sometimes his head got light and 
time passed unconsciously. Sometimes he dreamed and woke 
with sweat on his face. All the time the bolster was wet under 
his neck, turn it as he might. He drank all the water in the 
bottle, and found himself weeping because he could not call 
for more. At noon the Steward brought him some broth and a 
milk pudding. " Water ! " whispered Hannibal, showing a hot 
tongue. 

"My Gawd!" said the Steward. "Drunk it all? 1 only 
filled it at breakfast time." And he went to get more. 

Hannibal took a little of the soup and lay down again. He 
did not want milk pudding. He remembered with awful clear- 
ness the milk pudding beside the dead Jan, on the hatch. At 
four o'clock Tonmiy, with his face as black as a nigger-minstrel, 
popped in to give him the news. 

" I been trimmin'," he chirruped, " down in de 'tween-deck. 
It's pretty hard work, eh? Second Mate 'e says we come off 
soon. How you feel? Bad!" 

Hannibal nodded with closed eyes. Tommy looked at him 
gravely for a moment and went away to wash himself. 

" I reckon," he said to the junior apprentice as they scrubbed 
industriously at their buckets, " I reckon dat chap'll be a stiff 
soon, eh? " 

" Oh, he'll be all right, when we're homeward bound," said 
the other. " It's only fever." 

To Hannibal everything seemed an immense distance away. 



432 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

The noises on deck sounded dim^ mere ghosts of sounds^ the 
light of the ten-inch port was a far-off moon. He was not con- 
scious of having a body at all. He seemed to float idiotically in 
the bunk. Only his head ached, and the warm sticky perspira- 
tion trickling behind his ears worried him. 

Nevertheless he was better. He knew that, in a vague imper- 
sonal way. His wasted body had been purged clean, and his 
mind, or his soul if you like, that was purged too. It seemed 
to him he had been an awfully wicked young man in Japan. He 
had given way to his desires, regardless of everything. He tried 
to think what the Browns would say if they only knew. Or his 
motlier. Fancy him, of all people, rioting, drinking beer, mak- 
ing himself sick on that beastly saki, sleeping in tea-houses. It 
was true he was not the only one. Even Hiram I He wondered 
what Mrs. Gaynor thought. Did she know? She seemed to 
know a good deal more than she ever let on. What a time it 
was! 

But it was all over and done with. The sickness had cleared 
all the dross from his nature. He was going home. Oh! how 
glad he would be to get back to Swansea, to lean his head on 
Nellie's shoulder and pray her to look after him. The tears 
gathered under his eyelids and ran down his cheek to his ears 
as he thought of it. The sea had been too much for him. He 
loved it, for all that The great beautiful round blue sea! It 
had lured him, tempted him, crushed him, purged him. He did 
not want to die. He was young, yet how old he felt! Some- 
times it seemed as though he had lived through a lifetime in the 
last six months. And Billiter Lane, where even now silk-hatted 
men discussed the re-insurance of the Caryatid, seemed a hun- 
dred million miles away. 

It was tide-time at seven o'clock that evening, but the bridge 
party on the after-deck, gathered on stools round a wicker table 
the Third had bought in Las Palmas, cut and played as though 
they were in port. Mr. Hopkins, grown tired of Ivanhoe, leaned 
over the bulwarks and eyed the little island of coal alongside. 
It made his heart bleed, for it was good Moji stuff, and he knew 
the vile Bengal rubbish awaiting him in Sourabaja. Suddenly 
he threw up his head. He put his Angers in his mouth and sent 
forth a piercing whistle. The bridge-players looked up. 
'* Movin' ! " he called hoarsely. " She's shiftin'. Get the stops 
open, Spink." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 488 

Over went the stools^ tables^ cards^ everything. The bridge- 
party had vanished. The Old Man on the bridge tugged at 
the telegraphy for he too had been leaning over the rail and 
noticed the slight movement. Down below the Second was 
breaking every recommendation of the Board of Trade^ getting 
steam into the engines. The excited Spink splashed oil round 
on the caps^ in the crankpit^ on the Second's head^ everywhere. 
The Third stood to the stokehold^ and told Angelatos that his 
mother was no better than she should have been^ and watched 
the steam gauge needle crawl round. The engines responded 
to the Second's efforts with mnch hammering of water traps> 
much groaning of journals. Then, with a rush and a storm of 
escaping steam she started. Away aft the water surged under 
the shuddering counter, and the Second Mate strained his eyes 
to detect any movement of the ship. Mr. Hopkins, wondering 
if the Second had bust anything, kept his eye on the lighthouse. 
Some one shouted, " She's goin' ! " And some one else, less 
sanguine, drawled, ** No, is she? " 

But she was. This time the sanguine one had it. Down 
below, as they raced roimd thumbing tlie bearings, shifting the 
checks, and doing all the little things overlooked in the first mad 
turmoil, Spink created a sensation by pointing to the chatty 
hanging in the ventilator. It was straight! It quivered, swing- 
ing slightly from side to side, as though it said, " There ! what 
do you think of that? I'm straight again ! " 

" She's away sure enough," admitted the Second. " Floatin'," 
and he watched the telegraph. 

"Home for Christmas, Spink!" bellowed the Third, as he 
twirled the swab-bush in the pot. " Stories round the fire — 
mistletoe — stockin's — brandy round the duff, Spink ! " 

" No wonder I sold a farm to go to sea," grinned Spink. 



THEY made up a bed for him on the poop^ just by the 
ice-box^ and from there he caught sight of Perim, as 
they began the race neck-and-neck with the deserts up 
the Red Sea. It had been a long hot day across €tkt 
Indian Ocean via Colombo^ and the Red Sea was fifteen hundred 
miles long. Six days they ploughed onward, and Hannibal won- 
dered why it was called Red. It certainly was red-hot The 
winds from the desert struck his face like a furnace blast, and 
little birds dropped dead on the deck with the heat. He used 
to watch them flying, screaming with agony as the death-hawks 
pursued them. Poor little things, to come so far to find death ! 
One night he looked up at the ice-box and saw two of them 
asleep side by side, their beaks laid together for comfort. He 
raised himself gently and drew near to them, but they slept 
on. " Poor little dicks," he muttered, feeling a lump in his 
throat. It moved him profoundly, the sight of Uiose tiny casuals 
of the sea, and he never forgot it Somehow they seemed akin 
to him, and the yellow death-hawks with their spotted plumage 
and horrible faces — they were efficients. Xheir wings were 
strong, their sight was keen, their beaks were sharp, like those 
clever people who made money and looked down on him at home. 

One morning, as the Gulf of Sues loomed ahead and the 
cool breeze flapped the awning, he asked for his clothes. He 
wanted to get up and work. The Chief lounged along and 
inspected him. There was not much of him except skin and 
bone, and Mr. Hopkins shook his head. The Second joined him. 

" If you want to turn to," said the latter, " come into the 
engine-room. I'll put Snyder in the bunker, Chief. There's 
worlds of scouring to do. I daren't go into Liverpool with an 
engine-room like a ship-chandler's store. You go on day-work, 
six to six, see? What you want is plenty of soup and greens. 
You'll soon pick up." 

So into the engine-room he went, and picked up to a certain 

extent. It was amazingly good to be about again, to feel one 

was useful, and the Third made him laugh so much that his 

434 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 485 

weak body ached. They were all very joyful because^ barring 
accidents^ they would be home for Christmas. All day long 
they toiled, painting, scrubbing, polishing. Hannibal went all 
over the hand-rails, and even Mr. Hopkins made humorous signs 
that the brilliance was painful to his eyes. 

They passed through the Canal at night, and Hannibal, with 
his overcoat buttoned up, for it was piercingly cold, watched the 
great beam of the searchlight cutting into the darkness. What 
a treat it was to be cool again! And then Malta. He thought 
Malta very beautiful that morning, as they came in among the 
warships and liners. He bought himself a blanket and some 
clothing, for all the old ones were nearly done for. And just 
as a little luxury after his long privations, he bought a box of 
cigars. It reminded him of the Little Brown Box. 

He had letters at Malta too, from Nellie and his mother. 
Mrs. Gooderich did not excel in correspondence. She said they 
were getting on very well. Minnie was out a good deal — had 
grand friends that Mrs. Wilfley introduced her to, and they 
had a little servant. Altogether they were not doing so badly. 
She never heard from Kennington now. They had their own 
friends. Mrs. Gaynor had written saying she had heard from 
Hiram, how they had met in Japan. That was very nice. Mrs. 
Gaynor said Hiram wrote fine long letters, telling her what he 
saw and all the wonderful places he visited — why didn't Hanny 
do that too? 

Nellie's letter didn't contain much, but it was enough. When 
was he coming home? She had no idea this silly old world was 
so big. Old Snickery was breaking up. The old fool would 
drink himself crazy soon. The " Stormy Petrel " was doing 
big business — she had no time at all. With "love from his 
chatter-box " and a quaint " God bless you, dearie," at the end. 

And almost before they could realise it, there was Gibraltar 
" grand and grey," like a lump of England dropped down in the 
Mediterranean, on the starboard bow. Well! He had seen 
it; seen Singapore, seen the " far-flung battle line " of old Eng- 
land. He was a man now, he thought, as he scoured and polished 
the brasswork, a man with money coming to him, and a girl 
waiting for him. This at least the sea had done, and he was 
not dissatisfied. 

They ran into the Bay and found it in a bad mood. The 
sky shut down on them, and the great grey-white waves came 



486 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

out of the west and crashed aboard. The ship looked very bare 
with all the awnings stowed away. He could hardly realise 
it was winter time. Only a week or two back they had been 
in the Red Sea. The water was freezing cold, the forecastle- 
ports leaked, and the bogey wouldn't bum. He would squat in 
the store in the engine-room for warmth, and watch the engi- 
neers swaying to and fro as they did their work. And then one 
morning, just as he was coming down the ladder, the engines 
pulled up with a bang. He never forgot the Second's face at 
that moment. He took his pipe from his mouth, and in one 
glance looked at the gauges, the levers, the throttle, the fan. 
He did not run wild. He just used about three seconds to 
think, and then he went quietly to the fan and stopped it^ 
The Chief came down the ladder at once in his pyjamas, and 
gave the same keen glance at the vital parts. 

" Eh," he muttered, putting the telegraph to " Stop." 
"Stopped dead," said the Second blankly. "Slide's brnk? " 
" Get 'em all out," said Mr. Hopkins. " 111 go and tell the 
Old Man." 

The Third and Fourth came tumbling down as soon as Han- 
nibal told them, and they began. There was no fuss, no excite- 
ment, no profanity. The Caryatid rolled in the trough of the 
great Atlantic waves, and it was difficult to work quickly, but 
they stuck to it, silently and with infinite care and patience. 
He could not help feeling proud, ridiculously proud. They were 
foolish, silly men in fine weather, grumbling at everything;, curs- 
ing their fate, and judging many things wrong. But here, in a 
pinch, by God, they were men! It took them three blistering 
hours to get the broken throttle valve out and repair it. As the 
last nut was screwed up, the Third began to sing, " I fear no 
foe in ihining armour I *' and the volatile Spink made a spring for 
the fan. 

" Go easy now," said the Chief, wiping his face with a piece 
of waste. And he looked roimd vaguely for a box of matches. 

Up on the bridge the Mate and the Old Man steadied their 
bodies to the roll and looked sombrely at the two black-balls 
swaying in the wind. They felt very helpless, as sailors do 
when the cofTee-mill goes wrong. Mr. Hopkins had been far 
from clear in his accounts of the trouble. How long? H'm! 
They could search him! and he had gone down again* 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 487 

oilskins flapped about their legs as the wind rushed in wild 
gusts about the chart-house. It was weary waiting. 

Captain Briscoe waived breakfast and kept his place, waiting, 
waiting for the telegraph. Half-past eight passed and no 
sound. Overside the seas boiled and fell up against the bul- 
warks in dull thuds. How slow time moved! What was the 
matter down there? Eight months those engines had rim with- 
out a murmur, and here, almost in sight of England, something 
had gone bang. Were they hiding something? Was that Chief 
afraid to tell him? Fancy being towed in after being aground, 
and his first voyage! But he knew in his heart that the silent 
little man in charge was not likely to be afraid to tell him. 
Still, why didn't they hurry? He wanted to get in and get 
finished. He had something to do when he got the ship in. 
He would be up against another problem. But to be towed in! 
He felt he would rather . . . 

And then the pointer of the telegraph whirled round as Spink 
worked the handle, round and back, round and back, and then 
on to ** Full ahead" He answered at once, and turned to find 
Mr. Cadoxton at his elbow. 

" I went down below to have a look, sir," he said. " It's all 
right. Mr. Hopkins says it'll take us into Liverpool." 

" Cadoxton," said the Captain, " I've been twenty-eight months 
in a wind-bag, and felt it less than this run." 

" Yes, sir, it has been a bit of a strain. But we'll be in Liver- 
pool inside of a week." 

The yoimg man looked up at the sharp, drawn face under 
the sou'-wester, the fierce eyes straining into the grey weather, 
the bleak crinkled nose wet with moisture. Not a bad little 
chap, even if he was a bit of an outsider, don't you know. And 
he began to think of Christmas in the pleasant Leicestershire 
country; snow perhaps, and skating. His brother the barris- 
ter would be doMrn, and his young brother at Oxford, with his 
chum; awfully jolly it would be. Such a treat to get into 
one's dress clothes again. The weather? Oh, blow the weather! 
This was nothing, so long as they could keep punching into it. 

And Hannibal down below, he too was disdainful of the 
weather. As he cleaned up the place after the battle with the 
broken valve, he felt unreasonably glad that he had been there, 
if only as a helper. There was something in that little tussle 



«8 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

with the forces of nature that appealed to him. You didn't meet 
men like them in warehouses and retail shops^ did you? He had 
watched their faces as they had toiled^ faces set hard under the 
grease and sweat He heard the Second talking quietly. 
" Now, Spink, don't get excited, son." Spink, the youthful 
hilarious Spink, with his teeth gritted together, one sinewy hand 
hanging to the grating, while his body writhed to reach a reluc- 
tant and exceedingly hot nut. And the Third too, surpassing 
the others in his skill in making slings and knots, producing 
little steel wedges unexpectedly from his pockets at just the 
right moment like a conjurer, his face an impenetrable mask of 
contempt. 

"It's moving," said Spink. "Aye, like a Uttle dog's taU," 
said the Third. "It's coming," squeaked Spink. "Aye, but 
Christmas is near." And down on the plates the Chief stood 
with upturned face watching them, watching the gauges, watch- 
ing everything, with never a word. They knew their woric, 
didn't they? Well then, and sometimes, but quite casually, he 
glanced at the clock. 

The young man felt he had seen something worth while that 
morning, something he could remember with keen pleasure. It 
was not that these men feared death or that they loved the 
owners, that they had done this thing so valiantly. No, there 
was something deeper than that. That grey old master, the 
sea, called them, and they answered. They would be paid off* in 
port, and be scattered abroad over the earUi, never to meet again 
— no matter. The sea called, and they answered. To each 
other they said it was nothing. They had heard of real break- 
downs, crank-shafts snapped, air-pumps gone to glory, cylinder- 
heads blown out. Dreadful were the stories with which they 
passed the dog-watch that night. The Third lied brazenly about 
" the last ship I was in," until the Chief muttered, " Forget it! 
I heard that yarn twenty years ago, and it was old then." What 
a life! 

What did it matter? They would be home for Christmas. 

And so they were. The gale hauled off, or else they did 
punch through it, everybody forgot which; and on a fine, dear 
winter night, they picked up a pilot off Anglesea. Almost widi 
a feeling of sadness, Hannibal took his bag down to give it a 
scrub. He felt all right now, though a little shaky on his pins, 
as he told the Chief. Even the cloddish occupants of the fore- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 489 

castle were bestirring themselves. Men got out stubby pencils 
and figured on old magazines the possible total of pay^ forgetting 
to allow for all little advances — the ten pesetas in Las Palmas^ 
the two dollars in New York^ the twenty yen in Kob6^ the five 
guilders in Sourabaja. But Mr. Cadoxton^ sitting in the pabin 
surrounded by documents, did not forget them, and it was won- 
derful, when they were added up, how much there was to come 
off the total. 

Fog held them in the river, a dripping low-lying bank so 
thick you could not see your hand before your face. All around 
them sirens screamed and whistles bellowed, and sometimes a 
ghostly ship came perilously close, the thump of her propeller 
sounding with startling distinctness for a moment. Hannibal 
sat on the warm fiddle-grating, and looked out. Fog? He 
laughed at the idea. He had been brought up to call this white 
cotton-woolly stuff mist. Fog, to his metrofKilitan consciousness, 
was different. How homelike it was, though, after the burning 
crystalline East, after the interminable days of shining blue 
water. It seemed like a beautiful, dreadful, unforgettable 
dream, a dream from which he was returning, through a sleepy 
phantasmal fog, to real life again. Beyond that vaporous mys- 
tery lay Nellie and warm fires, home, love, long mornings in bed. 
After all, he was tired. 

And once or twice he coughed huskily. 

At length, after much waiting and manoeuvring, after long 
hooting and ringing of bells, they came into the dock. It was 
morning, and the mists had rolled away. 

Beyond the river wall lay a huge liner at anchor, her great 
funnels reared up against the sky-line. For a moment Hannibal 
forgot the imminence of his departure, forgot the insistent calls 
to come ashore and have a drink. He leaned over the bulwarks 
and stared at the broad stream and the steamer. How he loved 
them, those splendid runners of the sea ! Men lived there, toiled 
and rejoiced, cursed and did their work. And the old out-classed 
steamers laid up alongside — he loved them too, unkempt, rusty, 
and bluff-bosomed though they were. They were casuals of the 
sea, going blindly as the markets bade them up and down, 
across and across, so they fetched and carried to feed the roaring 
looms and busy mills of all the lands. And when no hand was 
lifted, no charter signed, they lay there silently, patiently, in 
one side, paying no heed as tides ebbed and flowed, ^^Uityifftg 



440 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

humbly but space in which to rest^ their masts flaunting no 
joyous ensign to affright the spirit of decay that crept op the 
river on the dripping fog. 

" Hi, man ! Get yourself ready. They pay off at ten o'clock," 
called a voice from the forecastle door. 

" I'm coming," he replied, turning. The voyage was over at 
last. 



XXIII 

A SHIPPING office Is a region given over to the com- 
monplace. Inside of tlie heavily-latched doors yon 
are out of the hearing of the great happenings of the 
sea. On those distempered walls of ashen grey are 
pinned curt notices of trumpery court-caaea, fines for over-load- 
ing, imprisonments for falsifying discharges, nagging circulars 
or recommendations, illegible lists of bygone salvage crews, pa- 
thetic appeals for seamen's homes. Behind the broad mahogany 
sit disdainful young men in immaculate raiment, industrious, 
distant, and incredibly skilful with the pen. There is some- 
thing of the workhouse office about it all, with Its bleak cleanli- 
ness, its chilling silences, its penetrating odour of documents, its 
dry disregard of the souls of men. 

At eleven o'clock Captain Briscoe walked into the discharging 
room quickly, a brown leather bag hanging heavily from his hand, 
and lifting the hinged leaf in tlie end of the counter, went round 
behind. A clerk looked up from his writing and nodded good 
morning, which the Captain returned, setting his hat and nm- 
brella in a comer. Seating himself at the comer he opened his 
bag with a curious air of preoccupation. He took out the ship's 
papers, set them to one side, and spread before him a crumpled 
telegram. 

In twos and threes the crew sidled shyly into the space before 
him, their boots ringing on the clean bare floor. Gradually they 
separated into little groups, sailor seeking sailor, fireman fire- 
man; the engineers standing aloof at the far end, their bowler 
hats held decorously against their chins. Mr. Hopkins, for- 
bidden by the law to smoke, stood with his left hand in his 
overcoat pocket as though feeling for matches, his untidy mous- 
tache drooping, profoundly depressed. The Third stood with 
his back to the others, reading without emotion a notice which 
mentioned that if he, Eustace Richard Titheradge, applied to 
the offices of the Board of Trade, or any shipping office in the 
United Kingdom, he would be put in possession of a bronze 



442 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

medal due to him as one of the crew of the steamer Pharos, who 
had rescued the crew of the Norwegian harque Ingeborg in the 
Bay of Biscay^ six years before. Having read it^ he turned and 
surveyed the crew of the Caryatid with a blank stare. Tommy, 
his round cherubic face appearing above the grey muffler^ leaned 
on the radiator and studied a slip of paper — his account of 
wages. Hannibal stood beside him nibbling the edge of his 
tweed cap, and watching the Old Man. 

The door opened again and admitted Mr. Cadozton. Mr. 
Cadoxton did not remove his hat like the rest of the crew. He 
betrayed no sign of being overawed by the atmosphere of the 
place. He walked quickly to the leaf, ducked under it, and 
appeared beside Captain Briscoe. From his pocket he drew a 
gloved hand containing a bank envelope. The Captain closed 
his hand on the telegram, crushed it up and put it in his pocket. 
Every now and again the door would o]>en and a strange face 
would peer round the room, only to withdraw hastily. 

Captain Briscoe laid a thick wad of bank-notes on the counter, 
and poured the bag of silver and gold upon them. Hannibal 
looked at the money curiously. It was tiie first time he had 
ever seen hundreds of pounds. He tried to imagine how it had 
come there. By what magic was the skipper, coming up out of 
the fog of the river, out of the great sea spaces, able to persuade 
these shore-people that he was the rightful steward of all that 
money? It was very marvellous. Only a few hours ago, you 
might say, they were down there in the Irish Sea, and here, with 
the speed of a fairy tale, gold appeared, the gold for which they 
had toiled so long. He looked at the wages list. He was to 
receive as a final balance thirty-two pounds. He feh suddenly 
timid as he tried to realise the immensity of the sum. He 
would have to put it in a safe place — he might be robbed. He 
wanted to be rid of it before he had received it. He had heard 
stories in the forecastle of men who had met friends outside the 
shipping office. As he nibbled his cap he heard his name called 
by Mr. Cadoxton, and stepped forward. All around him men 
stood with heads bent over curved palms making hasty calcula- 
tions. The clerk swung the articles around and pointed to the 
place where he was to sign. Mr. Cadoxton peeled off six bank- 
notes, selected some loose gold and silver from the heap, and 
pushed them towards him. There was a whispered conversa- 
tion between the clerk and the Captain. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 443 



"Wait/' said the latter. "Wait for your discharge-book. 
Go and get measured. Over there." 

Hannibal turned uncertainly^ and the beaming Tommy pointed 
to a blue-uniformed officer who was beckoning him to the wall. 
Hannibal went over and stood with his back against a graduated 
pillar^ and the official slid the gauge down until it touched his 
head. Five feet eight. He smiled sheepishly as he caught the 
eye of Spink. He saw them pass up one by one and sign the 
paper. By that delicate reversion of precedence affected by 
ships' articles, Mr. Hopkins appeared last. Hannibal, looking 
at him, had a sudden conviction that the whole business was a 
dream. That drooping, untidy little man with his sagging over- 
coat, his green neck-tie up over his collar, his ill-kept nedla, his 
expression of hopeless melancholy — was he the man who had 
been his boss for so long? Hannibal stared at him, as he grasped 
the pen to sign against ninety-four pounds seven and a penny, 
and saw his left hand come out of his pocket holding a paper 
parcel. 

"Here," said Mr. Hopkins to the Captain, "want it now?" 
For a moment the Old Man looked blank. And then he re- 
membered. He put out his hand. 

" Thank you. Chief," he said clearly. " Much obliged." 
^ Mr. Cadozton's eyes strove to appear unconcerned. When 

s the shiny blue discharge-book had been made out and handed 
^ to him, and Hannibal turned to go, he found the place empty, 
, save for the official who had measured him. He opened the 
, door to go out into the chill wind that blew around the comer. 

He felt lonely, and strange. And there was the money. 
'f " Why don't you put it in the bank? " asked the man in the 
• blue uniform, as though reading his thoughts. 

" 'Ere? " asked Hannibal, and the man nodded. " Come this 

, way," he said, and led the young man into another room with 

> brass railings over the counter. In a few minutes he had made 

^ out a form which would entitle him to draw his money in 

, Swansea. 

^. "Keep the two pounds odd," suggested the official; "you'll 
^ have to pay your fare." 

|;. " Of course," laughed Hannibal. " I forgot that" He put 
^, the warrant in his pocket and went out again. 
^, "Dirty weather," he remarked. "How do you get to the 
^ stfition from 'ere?" 



444 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" Car at the top of the street. Take a Lime Street car/' said 
the man. 

" Thanks. Oh ! 'cre's the Old Man ! " 

Captain Briscoe^ accompanied by Mr. Cadozton^ came out, 
patting up their coat-collars. 

" Tell the Mate I'll be back for dinner," said he to the Third 
Mate. " Here, Gooderich, come with me." 

Somewhat amazed, Hannibal fomid himself harrying ap the 
road beside Captain Briscoe. 

" Understand," said the Captain, " joa can't come back in 
the ship." 

" I'm going to Swansea, sir," he replied quickly. 

" There's no need to sir me now. You are off the articles, 
and your sister is my wife." 

'* I can't imagine it," said Hannibal, coughing. " But then 
I don't know her very well." 

"Do you know where we are going?" demanded the Cap- 
tain. 

" No idea," said Hannibal. The Captain took the crumpled 
telegram from his pocket and handed it to him. His unaccus- 
tomed eyes wandered over the carboned scrawl. 

" Staying Mason's Hotel. Saw Caryatid due this morning. 
Minnie." 

" Why," he exclaimed, " she's here, then ! " 

" We are going there now," said the Captain. 

"Me!" 

" Yes, you. We've got to get acquainted. On the ship — 
impossible — discipline against it — Understand ? " 

They swimg up on a tramcar going up Church Street. Han- 
nibal felt troubled about this business. He resented being 
dragged into other people's affairs. 

" I want to get a train to Swansea," he mentioned. 

"What for? Get another ship?" 

" No, sir — I mean — I got a girl there." 

" That so ? Thought you'd be going home for Christmas." 

" It's going to be home for mc," he returned. 

"Well, I'll show you — get a time-table at the hotel. You 
see, I must see the wife first thing." 

"But why me?" quavered Hannibal fretfully. "I don't 
know 'er as well as you do. She's always been on 'er own. 
It's nothing to do with me, anyway. My relations never done 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 44i 

me any good. I'm going my own road." And he looked som 
brely out of the streaming windows of the car. 

" I was wondering whether you had quarrelled. The wif< 
never mentioning you, you see/' said Captain Briscoe. 

" We ain't quarrelled," he insisted. " We've just gone om 
own roads, that's all." 

He could not explain the lack of sympathy between himsell 
and the rest of his family. It was one of those subtle thing: 
that are always overstated in words. And indeed, how coulc 
he, the untutored young man, give expression to the distinctioi 
between Minnie's fastidiously unconventional mind and his owi 
simple appreciation of life and love.^ How could he be expectec 
to see any resemblance, any conunon origin, of Minnie's absence 
from home and his own sudden desire to get to sea? He fell 
oppressed by the weight of tlie problems confronting him. li 
was like the fog in the river. He wanted to get away to Nellie 

A sudden exhilaration came to him as he thought of her. Sh( 
would look after him. With her he would be safe. 

Captain Briscoe sat watching the streets as they went on 
Mason's Hotel was temperance, and he knew where it was 
Had she come on alone .'^ That would be foolish. Hotels die 
not like solitary women. He had had no idea, when he fore- 
cast a probable date of arrival, that she would come to him s( 
quickly. Was she in trouble.^ His lips worked under his bearc 
as he tried to take a view of the whole question. It was a litth 
big for hioL Out on the ocean, he had seen it as a frightful 
morass in which he was staggering, lifting a foot only to plunge 
it afresh in the downward-sucking ooze, while above his soul i 
dark sky himg, thick with red stars. But here in the City the 
problem was more difficult, though less terrifying. As he pon- 
dered he became dimly aware that the solution lay in his wife '2 
future integrity and his own courage. He had undertaken i 
colossal task when he married her. He saw that now. He sail 
that the walls of convention are low within, but terribly steep 
and high without. Perhaps that was why it was so easy for the 
folk within to look down on you. 

He stood up quickly and beckoned to Hannibal. The} 
alighted and hurried through the rain, up a side street. 

" Here you are," he said, stopping before a yellow stuccoed 
front with Mason's Temperance Hotel in thick gilt letters across 
the first floor walL 



446 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" 111 go up first," he said as they entered the narrow hall- 
way. "You understand? It will be better if I go up first," 
and he went forward to meet the thin woman in black who was 
coming down the stairs. 

" Mrs. Briscoe? Come this way> sir, if you please." Hanni- 
bal watched them round the cunre of the stairs. A faint smell 
of meat cooking came to him, the clink of cutlery and the 
murmur of voices. On the wall was a faded oQ-painting of a 
sailing-ship in a dingy gold frame. Some one had pdted an 
umbrella through the spanker. How dreary it was, after the 
splendour of the East! The shiny varnished paper, the woven 
carpet, the monotonous ticking of the clock in the sitting-room 
behind him brought home to him the fact that the life of England 
was closing round him once more. Well! he shifted his feet 
cautiously, and coughed. When he got to Swansea he would be 
all right. Nellie was waiting for him. Perhaps he ought to 
have sent a telegram. He would do that as soon as he could. 
What was going on up there? Why did they not send for 
him? 

He felt curiously ill at ease at the prospect of meeting Min- 
nie again. He had grown since leaving London, his knowledge 
of the world had spread over the surface of his mind, until it 
had reached his sister. And she was the Old Man's wife. She 
was to be spoken of as Mrs. Briscoe. And she was upstairs. He 
heard footsteps. 

"Hanny!" 

He went forward blindly to meet his mother, took her in his 
arms and kissed her cheek. 

" Well, old lady ! I didn't know — you come with Minnie ! " 

" Good gracious ! " 

She pushed him back a little to look at him. 

" You're a man ! " she said solemnly, and touched the Uack 
hair on his lip — his own gesture. He laughed. 

" Sure thing, old lady. Here I am, you see." 

" Youll come up now? " 

"Is she up there?" He raised his eyebrows to indicate 
upstairs. 

" Yes, of course. And George — Captain Briscoe too." 

Mary Gooderich had changed once again since we saw her 
last in that house in Jubilee Street. She would have said per- 
haps that she scarcely knew herself, for this time the change 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 447 

was in another direction. The cringe was gone from her gait, 
and in her gestures was a certain freedom, a certain air of 
vague authority. And she called the Old Man George. To 
Hannibal it was a revelation of his mother. It is certainly 
wonderful how adaptable a human being, especially a woman, 
is to environment. When you have left Jubilee Street for a 
flat in Tedworth Square, with a servant, even if she be only 
a little one, when your daughter is married to a sea-captain and 
travels to Liverpool to meet him, staying at hotels, your atti- 
tude towards the world becomes less strained. Your regard 
for the Browns may even become humorously indifferent. 

Like many people of limited intellect, Mrs. Gooderich had been 
borne down by facts. Apparently every fact she encountered 
was on Minnie's side, the fact of the monthly note cashed in 
Billiter Lane, the fact of the flat with its furniture, its linen, its 
gracious labour-saving contrivances, its capable servant. There 
was the undeniable fact too, of Minnie's acquaintances. Surely, 
if her daughter were a bad girl, good kind ladies like Mrs. 
Wilfley would not associate with her, distinguished men like Sir 
Anthony Gilfillan, m.p., would not exert themselves on her be- 
half, when she joined that foolish petition business down at 
Westminster? And behind all these was the signed bald state- 
ment that George Briscoe, master mariner and bachelor, was 
married to Wilhclmina Gooderich, spinster, at the Town Hall, 
King's Road, Chelsea. The sight of that plain sheet of paper 
had recalled the past with a painful vividness. She remem- 
bered her sudden choice of the name Wilhelmina, when she read 
of the queen-baby acros^ the Channel — a foolish piece of senti- 
ment that her husband had capped by naming tibeir youngest 
after a horse. Mr. Gooderich had won four pounds on " Han- 
nibal " that week and the money had been welcome. She could 
look back at that time now without a shudder. Somehow, in 
a manner so complex she could not follow it, she had emerged; 
her dream of an old age unspoiled by care was come partly ^e. 
She avoided the dark thoughts of her life and held firmly to 
the facts. It was a great comfort to have really good clothes 
to wear. 

Hannibal followed her upstairs. Perhaps it was as well he 
had come. After all, he had no quarrel with any one. He 
blushed as he thought how he had hugged his mother. He had 
gone not for to do it He had never done it before. Fancy! 



448 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Mrs. Gooderich led the way along the dark corridor to a 
room with a ground glass door at the end. 

Captain Briscoe was standing by the fire looking down at 
his wife. He turned as mother and son came into the room. 

" Here he is/' said Mrs. Gooderich. " Take your coat off, 
Hanny. It's all wet." 

He hung his cap on a peg by the door, and shouldered hun- 
self out of his coat. As he fumbled for the loop he heard a 
voice say as though amused: 

" Why, is that Hanny? Good heavens ! " 

He turned with a certain aggression in his manner, which 
was defeated by a short fit of coughing. And then he saw his 
sister sitting by the fire, a rug thrown over her and tucked under 
her arms. Her face was pale, as always, and her hands lay 
with fingers loosely interlaced on the dark fabric of the rag. 
She smiled as her brother came up to her. How disconcertmg 
she was! Captain Briscoe looked at Hannibal's doubtful face 
with a certain sympathy. He too had been taken back by the 
smiling figure in the chair. He, like Hannibal, had braced him- 
self for a definite situation, and she had scored again in her 
inimitable way. You cannot be aggressive with a woman hud* 
died in a rug. Try it. 

She held up her hand, still smiling. 

** Well, Hanny," she said kindly, " did they put you on the 
fires? You look as though you had been put somewhere. Look 
at him, mother. He's thin as an umbrella." 

He stood by her chair, looking down at her, smiling awk- 
wardly. Young men dislike public references to their personal 
appearance. Mrs. Gooderich looked at him solicitously. 

" He is thin. I suppose it was that illness." 

" He had a touch of fever," said Captain Briscoe. " I looked 
after him." 

" And how do you like it? " said Minnie. 

Hannibal, as he answered, was conscious of a feeling of amaxe- 
ment at her kindly peremptory tone. She spoke like a lady of 
position. He was sure she would patronise Mrs. Hopkins. 
There might be sparks flying, wigs on the green, no doubt; but 
that would be her attitude. 

*' I like it all right," he said quietly. " But I'm for the beadi 
for a while now." 

" For what? Talk English, Hanny." 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 4*9 

" I mean," be said, " I'm going to stay ashore a bit." 

" I see. I suppose you'll be coming to town to stay witli ns ? " 
There was a faint sarcasm in the tone and he caught it. 

"No, I ain't," be returned. " I'm going to Swansea to get 
married." 

For a moment she studied bis thin features as the firelight 
played upon them, Iiis solemn brown eyes gating into the glow- 
ing coals. It was a facer for her, for all of them. How could 
he have been so secretive? Mrs. Gooderich could hardly believe 
her ears. After throwing over Amelia, iicre lie was after all — 
but Swansea ! For a moment no one spoke, and he stood motion- 
less, unconscious of the mild sensation he bad caused. Minnie 
parsed her lips slightly. 

"Yon!" she said at length. 

"That's right," he replied evenly, "What of it? " 

" Who is it, Hanny? " asked bis mother anxiously. 

" Girl in Swansea," he said. " We got engaged when I was 
there." 

He was master of himself now, realising the tremendous ad- 
vantage he had over his sister. Sbe couldn't get past that, mar- 
tied tfs she was. He caught ber eye for a fleeting moment and 
saw it flicker involuntarily. 

"And you won't be coming to London?" said his mother. 

" Perhaps, later on," he replied. "I — I want a time-table," 
he added, looking at one that hung on the wall. 

"Well," said Captain Briscoe^ banding it to him, "you don't 
seem very anxious to tell us much about it." 

" There ain't much to tell," he returned simply. " There's 
no need to worry about me," he coughed. " I'm all right." 

" You've got a cold," said his mother. 

" Fog," he croaked, turning the leaves of the time-table. 
" I'll be all right soon." He looked round for a chair to sit 
down. " Here's one to Cardiff," he said without looking up. 
" Two-twenty. That'll do me,"^ And he shut the book and laid 
it on tbe table. For a moment he stared at the fire. 

" I thought," said his mother, a little uncertainly, " you'd 
be coming to London for Christmas." And she looked at her 
daughter, who gave no sign that she had heard. 

" She'll be waiting," be replied, and stood up. Suddenly he 
looked at his sister. " What's the matter? " he demanded. 

Minnie looked down at her hands. Mrs. Goodericb fidgetted. 



450 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

Captain Briscoe smiled. Hannibal glanced from face to face^ 
and his own cleared. 

" Oh/' he said. " Well, I'll 'ave to get down to the ship for 
my dmmage. I'll 'ave to say Toodle-oo." 

Minnie held oat her hand, but made no offer to kiss him. 

'' Good-bye, Hanny," she said. ** Come and see us some tune, 
when you are a married man." 

" I dare say," he answered. ** Good-bye, sir." He checked 
himself and laughed. " I'd never get out of the 'abit," he 
said. 

" It's a good fault," said Captain Briscoe. " Minnie, my dear, 
I've just this to say for this young chap. He's done his work, 
and kept his place, and I've had no fault to find whatever. I 
wish him luck. Pity there isn't more like him." And he shook 
hands. "Good-bye, young man," he said. 

Mrs. Gooderich went to the door to go downstairs with her 
son, helping him into his coat. He turned at the door, cap id 
hand. 

'* I'm glad," he said in a low voice, " glad it's turned out 
better than you thought. Good-bye." And he left them. 

** Hanny," said his mother, when they reached the dreary 
passage again. "What's her name, dear? I'm so glad!" 

"Nellie, mother, Nellie Ffitt. "I'd like"— he paused and 
looked round — " I'd like you to see 'er some day, when wc get 
spliced." 

" And are you going on the ship again? " 

" I couldn't say. I may. I'll write to you, old lady.** 

"Do, dear. Isn't it rainin'?" 

" Ah, rotten weather," he coughed again. " I'm breaking up," 
he joked. " Good-bye." He kissed her again with his arm 
around her. "You all right — with Minnie?" 

"Oh yes, we're very comfortable. Now mind you write.** 

" Sure." 

And he was gone. 

Mrs. Gooderich went slowly upstairs, a finger pressed into 
her cheek. She felt a pang, no doubt, at the young man's curt 
dismissal of them and their interests. She could not help shar- 
ing her daughter's temporary dismay when he dumbfounded 
them by the announcement of his departure for Swansea, for 
she had gone over to Minnie, she feared, irrevocably. There 
were the facts. Here was Captain Briscoe himself, an irre- 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 451 

frsgable ii' baffling fact, talking about living in the country. She 
re-entered the room. 

" I was sayings" said be, setting a chair and banging up the 
time-taUe, " that it was always a hope with me to live in the 
country." 

" And I was saying, mother," cut in Minnie placidly, " that 
George doesn't seem to realise that it's us who have to live in 
the country, not him. You'll be away all the time," she aaid to 
him. " You won't have the trouble with leaky roofs and broken 
windows. And do you think the girl will live in the country? 
Not likely. You ask her ! " 

"Well, Minnie, you can get a girl who belongs, can't you?" 
Captain Briscoe was not impressive away from his ship. 

" There's another thing," Minnie went on, spreading her 
hands on the rug and eicaniinlng the nails. " I want to take 
tip my work again when this business is over." She indicated 
her condition with a faint gesture. " It's awfully fascinating," 
she added] looking up at him. 

" Writing advertisements ? " be muttered, and she nodded. 
He was quite surprised at this extraordinary development of his 
wife's character. Think of it! It had never entered his head 
that advertisements were written, and here was his own wife 
calling it fascinating, giving bim perfectly incredible particnlars 
of the money to be earned by it Mrs. Wilfley made her twenty 
pounds a week out of it. And it was refined, lady-like work 
too, a branch of literature, you might say. 

"Writing advertisements?" he muttered, and she nodded. 

" Couldn't you do that in the country? " he asked. She shook 
her head with a smile. 

" One has to be in the heart of things to get the human 
touch," she replied, and I defy any one to have told whether 
Minnie was quoting unconsciously, quoting sincerely, or quoting 
Ironically. Her placid face told nothing. 

" George," said Mrs. Gooderich — here was another phenom- 
enal thing, this diminutive, neatly-dressed mother-in-law address- 
ing him as George — " you're exciting her. She's tired by the 
long railway journey." 

Minnie said " Rubbish ! " but Captain Briscoe sprang to his 
feet and looked at his watch. 

" I must go down to the ship," he said. " I want to see the 
Mate and Chief about dry-docking. I'll be back soon. I'm 



452 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

sorry yoa won't be able to come down and see the ship this time. 
She's in fine trim." 

''Is she?" she answered indifferently. "Is that anjrthing 
extraordinary? You might bring me the Morning Post as yon 
come back. It wasn't in when mother went for it this morning." 

" Yes, all right. I'U bring it I shan't be long." 

He put on his coat and hurried out. He was particularly 
anxious to see the Mate at once. Mr. Hutchins was keen on 
promotion. Some one might come down to the ship. 

" I wonder," said Minnie as her mother took up a piece of linen 
which she was sewing, " I wonder if he will remember to get it." 

" You forgot to ask him about the name," said Mrs. Goode- 
rich. 

"Did I? No, I don't think I forgot, mother. When he 
came in I got an idea it would be better to leave it." 

" It would be nice if you called him Hanny," began Mrs. 
Gooderich, smiling and biting her thread. 

" I would call him anything in the world but Hanny ! " said 
Minnie, with a touch of viciousness in her voice. " How can 
one tell if it will be a boy? I hope so, of course. I don't want 
a girl. If it is a boy — ,well, I've another idea." 

" You have so many, Minnie — I can't keep up with you." 

" I shall ask Anthony GilfiUan to be his godfather," said 
Minnie. 

" That gentleman! Do you know him well enough? " 

" I think so," replied her daughter. " I saw a lot of him at 
one time, when he wasn't so well known. And Anthony's a good 
enough name, mother." 

" But George might " began Mrs. Gooderich. 

" George has enough to bother about without that," inter- 
rupted Minnie. " You didn't hear, though — you were down- 
stairs. He's in some trouble or other about his ship now. ' Put 
her aground,' he calls it, and there's to be an enquiry. He talks 
of losing his command." For a few moments she gazed into the 
fire, a contemptuous expression on her face, her hands moving 
under the rug. " I should have thought," she broke out, " that 
the sea was big enough. And he's been at it long enough. It*ll 
be a nice thing if he can't get another job and I have to earn 
money for two — three — four. Eh ? " 

Her mother looked at her in astonishment. Minnie's face was 
no longer merely contemptuous, it was triumphant. To the elder 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 45S 

woman's consternation she withdrew her hand from the rug and 
showed a gleaming blue-black rerolver. 

" Ob I " said Mrs. Gooderich, and recoiled. 

" He gave me this," said Minnie, regarding it with some 
amusement, " to keep. He dare not trust himself nntil he has 
heard what they are going to do. Fancj ! " 

For some time there was a silence. Slowly the girl hid the 
thing under the rug again, staring into the fire. 

" Mother! " she rapped at length, and her mother started, 

"Yes, Minnie? " 

"Mother, I was just thinking. What fools men are! What 
utter fools! But, oh mother, dear mother, what fools we are, 
not to find it out — soonerl " 



XXIV 

IT was to him a physically fatiguing joumej, for he waa 
but little accustomed to trains. To the seafarer, the 
monotonous confinement, the crepitating vibration of the 
wheels at unknown and unfriendly junctions, the noxious 
yet draughty atmosphere and the never-ending readjustment of 
the body to a fresh cramp, make up a familiar and dreaded 
memory. To him, moreover, with his body shaken by weakness, 
it followed upon a sleepless night and a morning of variegated 
mental excitement. As he changed for the last time, and after 
a weary wait, into the local train at Cardiff, he wondered if it 
wouldn't have been easier, and almost quicker, to have gone 
round by sea. Tommy had told him how he had travelled 
from Glasgow to Liverpool and from Leith to London in 
coasters. Very cheap. Tommy pronounced it, and cheapness 
with Tommy was a cardinal virtue. Funny little chap, Hanni- 
bal thought dreamily, as the locomotive bunted into the train 
with a crash. He was clever too. Look how he signalled in 
German to that ship in the Mediterranean, just after leaving 
Malta ! No doubt about him getting on. And, why, if it hadn't 
been for him, there would have been no Nellie! Just think! 

He thought affectionately of every one on the ship. Strange, 
surely, they should be all flung apart now. He wondered if he 
would ever see any of them again. There was Spink, the hilar- 
ious Spink, gone to Shields to get his ticket. Not a bad young 
chap. Hannibal remembered little gifts of soap and matches, 
old magazines and plugs of tobacco — the Spartan luxuries of 
the sea. The Third too! He was a cough drop, he was! No 
soap and matches from him; he never had any of his own. For 
the Second, Hannibal had a species of awe. He had the wit 
to see how completely the smooth running of all the complex 
mechanism of " below " depended upon tibat taciturn, tireless 
man's labour and care. True, behind him was another yet more 
taciturn, but it was not likely that Hannibal should see how 
essential to the Second's peace of mind was the silent, invisible 

integrity of the Chief. A good fellow, Mr. Hopkins. He would 

464 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 458 

like to bftve ieen Mrs. Hopkins again. She understood bin). 
Well, perhaps he would; Penarth was close here, somewhere. 

And that led bim back to Nellie. Would she be at the sta- 
tion? He bad accomplished the unprecedented feat of sending 
« telegram to tell her he would arrive at five minutes to ei^t. 
The mere thongbt of her gave bim a warm glow. Somehow he 
felt no alarm now at the prospect of settling down. He was 
tired of roaming. To his youthful imagination, so long turned 
inward, so recently stimulated, it seemed to him he had lived 
through a whole lifetime of vivid experience since Captain Bris- 
coe bad entered the shop that day to buy some tobacco. That 
day! The day of his emancipation. As he leaned back in the 
c»jmer with closed eyes he searched his mind in vain for any 
regret at leaving Amelia. And then a thrill of pleasure fol- 
lowed. His mother was clear of those Browns too. He had 
lieen on the defensive with Minnie, but he was glad indeed that 
his mother was shut o' those Browns. Of course, she was under 
Minnie's thumb, as was Captain Briscoe. Fancy! The Old 
Man under Minnie's thumb! He found hinuelf pitying bim. 
But then, and be looked at the matter from a personal point of 
view, perhaps the Old M&n liked to be mider her thumb, if he 
loved her, same as he, Hannibal, turned instinctively to Nellie 
for strength. That might be it. Anyway, it was no business of 
bis. And he thought with a lazy, delightful satisfaction of the 
thirty pounds waiting for him in Swansea. . . . Quite a fortune! 

He was nearly asleep as the train picked its slow way round 
from Landore into the town that lies behind those huge bul- 
warks of coal-streaked rock, yet open to the western rain-laden 
winds, open to her friend the sea. The lights of the approach, 
the clatter of the wheels over switches, roused him. As be but- 
toned his coat up closely he looked out of the window. The train 
glided into the station and he was conscious of a pause within 
himself, a momentary doubt. It occurred to him that, so astound* 
ing had been his life recently, it would not be surprising if the 
whole thing turned out to be a dream. He often had this obses- 
sion, this slack grasp on reality. As be stood up in the dark- 
ness of the dimly-lit carriage it came upon him. What was it 
all, this curiously-coloured, inconsequent thing called life? How 
did you account for all these contorted shining images in his 
brain — the East — ship — fog — Minnie — thirty pounds — 
Little Brown Box — railway train — bump ! The door flew open 



456 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

at the touch of a porter's hand^ and he stepped carefully upon 
the platform^ feeling dizzj and stiff. And then^ in the midst 
of strange, half-seen figures he singled her out coming towards 
him, waving hastily, gladly. 

He saw her expression change as though she were half afraid 
of his welcome, her full, pink, pretty face set in a frame of dark 
fur. They met, really, almost in absence of mind. He was 
thinking, " I saw her here first of all ! " and she was thinking, 
" He's got a moustache ! " 

" I'm back," he said, laughing sheepishly, as he took her hand. 
"Nellie!" 

For a moment she was silent, merely nodding and smiling as 
she looked him over. His big brown eyes roved over the sta- 
tion, came back to hers, and he laughed again. She came to her- 
self. 

"Goodness! you do look ill! I got your telegram, just as I 
was having a cup of tea. My sister-in-law's living with me now, 
and we always have tea at three. So you have come back! 
Where's your things — in the van? No, this end always, with 
Cardiff trains." 

They turned as his canvas bag, corpulent with bedding, shot 
upon the platform. 

" There it is," he said. " I'll go and get it." She caught his 
sleeve. 

" Let the porter fetch it. I'll tell him." She told him, and 
they went out to the street. There she paused in her prattle, 
looking searchingly into his face. He coughed. 

" You mustn't get cold," she announced, and walked towards 
a cab. Like a man still in a dream, he got in, heard her say, 
" Stormy Petrel," felt her sitting beside him, inhaled the scent 
of her clothes. 

" Blow the expense ! " he laughed. She turned on him, her 
face glowing. •• 

" Didn't you get my letters in Malta? " she demanded. 

" One," he said. 

" I sent another three days after. Old Snickery fell down 
the cellar and broke his neck ! " 

" Lummy ! " 

" So you see, but perhaps you don't " she began. 

See what, Nellie?" 

Why, I had the license, that's alL" And she tock her lower 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 457 

lip in her teeth and smiled into his eyes. She saw he did not 
understand. 

" The • Stormy Petrel ' is mme now," she added. 

" Yours ! " he croaked. " For good ? " 

''Just that and nothing else. They went to law about it, 
old Smokery's nephews and nieces, but they lost." 

"And you're — the landlady?" 

She nodded. 

'* And you come to meet me, and take a cab ? " he faltered. 

She nodded again, smiling. 

"Why not, Hanny.^ I'm no different, am I, from before?" 

" The landlady ! " he reflected, as though afraid. " Why," he 
broke out, ** you've got property, then." 

" That's what I'm telling you," she answered with gentle im- 
patience. " It isn't a crime to have property, is it ? You aren't 
one of those socialists ? " 

" Me ? No, I ain't anything, only a chap who's been to sea. 
D'you mean to say," he went on, "we're still engaged? You 

with property an' me with — with " And he stopped as 

the cab halted at the kerb. 

" Come on," she said. " May's waiting to see you. Come 
on ! " 

He glanced up at the house before entering it. The door of 
the bar was swinging even as he looked. Electric lights inside 
showed a glittering array of bottles, polished wood casks, nickel- 
plated ware, glasses in rows, all festooned with holly and red 
berries. He followed her into the hall-way upstairs and into 
a room over the bar, a room with a big fire and a table spread 
for supper. 

" Here he is. May," he heard Miss Ffitt say, and saw a lady 
turn from a glass where she had been touching her hair. 

" Mrs. Lloyd — Mr. Gooderich," said Miss Ffitt, introducing 
them. " I just got to the station in time, dear. He didn't get 
my letter about — you know. I've just been telling him." 

Mrs. Lloyd was a lady with a certain gentility that did not 
preclude good nature. She smiled and shook hands heartily, 
and seemed disposed to leave the talking to Miss Ffitt. 

" I've heard of you," she said graciously, and busied herself 
with the table. 

" I don't understand now," said Hannibal, sitting down aftez 
removing his coat. " It's like a fairy tale." 



4^8 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

"That's all it would have been if I hadn't stuck to my 
rights. Now I'll just run down and see how things are going 
on. I won't be a minute." And going out she gave him a pat 
on his shoulder. 

" Fancy ! " he muttered^ looking at the fire. He heard Mrs. 
Lloyd ask him if he had had a good voyage^ heard himself 
answer politely^ but he was far away in dreamland all the time. 
Surely^ he thought, it would all vanish, and he would find him- 
self on the soap-box in the forecastle, looking up at Angelatos' 
big feet or listening to Jan's commentary upon life. He strove 
to figure himself as a man of property. He remembered the 
awe in which Amelia spoke of such people. He wondered what 
they would think. Lummy! He would be able to talk to 
them now! He would be able to snap his fingers at Uncle 
George and all the rest of 'em. Buy up the Little Brown 
Box, eh? Not that he wanted it. Swansea was good enough for 
him! 

But was it true? A troubled look crept over his face. Had 
he the nerve to ask her to marry him now she was in such a 
different position? Why, there must be scores after her, men 
of property, perhaps. Why should she take to him so? And 
he remembered that, in a way, women did take to him. Amelia 
had done so, as had Mrs. Hopkins. Was it possible that there 
was something about him he didn't know what? 

Miss Ffitt came back. In her plain black dress that fitted her 
figure and made her seem slim, she was the image of a capable 
landlady — not too old. Indeed, the black dress, contrasting her 
pink face and light brown hair, made her look younger and less 
blowzy than her favourite pink would have done. 

*' Now we'll have supper," she announced, smiling. '' And 
you'll tell us all about your travels." 

" No fear," he said. ** You've got to tell me all about this 
business of the house. I can't believe it. 'Course I believe you," 
he added, as he drew up his chair. " But what I mean it, it's 
so unexpected like." 

" Of course it is, dear, but we can get used to anything if we 
try, even a bit of good luck. The great thing is to see it when it 
comes and take your chance. I wasn't thinking of anything like 
this happening when I first took over the license. It was simply 
a matter of business, me taking out the license and acting as 
Mr. Snickery's manager. Why, do you know, even when he 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 459 

was dead I went to a lawyer^ Mr. Leese^ who said I had what 
he called a technical right to the place* * What's that? ' I said. 
And he said it might need a lawsuit to substantiate the daim^ 
and he would take it up for me if I liked. I hadn't anything 
to lose^ you see^ so I told him to do it. Did it very well^ too^ 
and only charged a hundred pounds altogether. Wasn't I glad 
I hadn't given it up as they asked me to the day after the old 
chap was buried? " 

*'What I said was/' said Mrs. Lloyd^ "that Nellie haying 
really made the business what it is^ she had a moral right to it^ 
anyway. Don't you think so ? " 

"And then/' broke in Miss Ffitt, "what do you think? 
Those nephews of his tried to take my character away. Began 
to tell people I'd been their uncle's kept woman, and I'd wheedled 
it out of him. Mr. Leese wanted me to let him take that up. 
He said he'd get five hundred out of them for defamation of 
character. But I didn't want to do that. I let him write to 
them and threaten proceedings if they didn't apologise, as he 
had six witnesses. They did too, so that's over. Kept woman 
indeed! I'd be hard up for a new dress, I can tell you, before 
I had anything to do with a poor rickety old boozer like 
Snickery ! " 

" What a lot's been happening while I' been away," said 
Hannibal. 

" I should think so ! Let's see, it's eight months nearly, 
though I thought, after you wrote from Japan, you'd been lost, 
it was such a long time before another letter came." 

" I was bad," he returned, passing his plate for more ham. 
" And we were ashore on a coral reef. I woke up and found the 
ship all on one side." 

" Fancy ! Do tell us all about it" 

He told them, growing descriptive as he warmed to his sub- 
ject. Perhaps he drew his own figure a little large in the pic- 
ture, perhaps the unaccustomed stimulus of an attentive and 
easily astonished feminine audience led him to paint the dangers 
of sea life somewhat luridly. It is a very easy sin to conmiit, 
for though most women are too shrewd and too practical to 
believe tibe preposterous for long, yet they do actually believe 
anything at the time of the telling, and make you feel they 
believe it too, which is very charming and delightful, when you 
are young and just off a ship. 



460 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

" And what are you going to do now? " enquired Mrs. Lloyd, 
as they pushed their chairs back from the table. 

" Me? I'm going to ask a young lady I know if she's tMnlrip g 
o' getting married/' he replied^ a fine courage in his brown eye. 

You see^" he added as he put his arm round Nellie's waiiity 

I'm like Nellie with the lawyer. I didn't reckon what I was 
in for. But the great thing is to see good luck when it comes, 
eh? And you don't get much — if you don't ask." 






XXV 

NOT for many months did he arrive at any sort of 
ordered comprehension of the things that had befallen 
him. Indeed^ I fancy that just as he had passed his 
childhood in fantastic dreaming, as he had roamed 
with East-End gamins without much contamination of soul, as 
he had gone among the brisk and successful Browns without 
understanding their clear and immediate view of things, as he 
had voyaged across the world and seen life touched at the edge 
with the prismatic colours of romance, so now he did, with that 
slow-fusing imagination of his, transmute the daily happenings 
of his present existence into a delightful and — alas! — incom- 
municable dream. Even at the end, which was near, he found 
yet another matter for supreme wonder, another confirmation of 
a previous discovery that the essential spirit of life is indestruc- 
tible and divine. 

One minor cause for astonishment awaited him, as soon as the 
excitement of marriage was done with and he could give co- 
herent utterance to irrelevant and profane thoughts, and that 
was the way in which money made money. Especially, he ex- 
plained, in his own case. He could hardly understand how any 
one could be induced to go out and work, when money made itself 
so easy. Why, he observed, it was as easy to be a publican as to 
be a sinner, and the unexpected pithiness of the remark, its 
acceptance by one or two who heard it as genuine humour, induced 
him to say it often. "At least," he would add, "that's what 
I tell the wife, but she won't have it at all." 

It was not to be expected. Doubtless a consciousness of his 
dependence on her capacity came to him in time, for it was 
plain to the meanest mind that hers was the directing genius of 
the establishment. She it was who made a snap-offer for the 
goodwill of the restaurant next door, who shut it up, gutted 
the " Stormy Petrel's " jug department, cut a way through from 
the private bar, abolished a dark back room and transformed it 
all into a tasteful grill-room. She it was, too, who went through 

the lists^ wrote complaints to distillers and kept the mineral 

461 



462 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

water dealers in terror of their lives. It was her business^ it 
came natural to her to tend the details of a tavern. And more- 
over he was satisfied that it should be so. From time to time 
he asked questions^ sat watching the smooth running of the 
mechanism of the house. He was happy in his way^ he told her, 
and she in hers. He wasn't going to be such a fool as to inter- 
fere with anybody who knew their business. 

It was a source of some chagrin to him, however, to think that 
he had so far no expert knowledge of any trade, and this im- 
pelled him to try to master this one, if only to the extent of 
supervision. So he tried and found himself grateful to the train- 
ing of the Little Brown Box, which had made him familiar with 
the exigencies of the currency. But for the most part he let 
the mechanism run on, keeping upstairs out of the way, adjust- 
ing his ideas of the world in various ways. One of these was 
clothes. He had drawn his thirty pounds from the shipping 
ofiice and put it under the tea-cosy one afternoon. When Nellie 
found it she counted it carefully and copied the numbers of the 
notes upon a piece of paper. When the notes themselves were 
in the safe in the bedroom, she said: 

"Why don't you buy some clothes, Hanny.^" 

"What's the matter with this?" he asked, touching the neat 
blue serge in which he was married. 

" Nothing, but you'll want more than one suit. I've been 
over your things, and you need a lot." 

" Well, you buy them," he said, opening the Cambrian Daily 
Leader, " I'm no 'and at that sort of thing." 

" I can't buy your suits," she protested. " Underwear and 
socks, yes, but not suits. You want to be measured." 

" All r^^ht, old lady," he said with great good nature, "111 
go to-morrow morning." 

And when fairly into the matter of it, after having got out of 
the one-suit habit, so to speak, he found it pleasant enough to 
multiply his personality in tweed and serge, to note the idio- 
syncrasies of the young men who came into the saloon bar and 
walked with lordly airs in Oxford Street. He grew accustomed 
to have clothes, in time, affecting neutral tints and inconspic- 
uous design, and eventually ceased to give the matter much 
thought, as other fancies took possession of his mind. 

One thing he found that it was essential to have, and that 
was something to do. For some days after coming bade from 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 468 

Crwmbrla, where they were married (" that mouthful," he called 
it)^ he had gone about lackadaisically. That had palled terribly. 
Nellie insisted he should keep out of draughts and button his 
coat up when he went out, for he had a habit of lounging along 
with his hands in his pockets and his waistcoat showing. He 
talked with Mrs. Lloyd until she returned to Neath to warm 
the hearth for her husband, who was steward of one of Elder 
Dempster's West African ships. And the weather being bad 
and (of course) rainy, at the time, he bethought himself of read- 
ing, recalling Mr. Grober and his threepenny books, or a penny 
if you took them back. He told Nellie about him and his smoky 
shop, his whisky and his " bitter half," as Hannibal called the 
soured woman his wife. 

" Poor things," said Nellie. " Easy to laugh, Han, but what 
a life ! It is awful how some people live." 

" Perhaps he ain't to blame," surmised Hannibal, " bein' a 
square peg in a round 'ole." 

So he betook himself to a shop where books were piled in an 
endless and glittering variety, a shop reminding him in no 
detail whatever of Mr. Grober 's dingy hole, a shop* full of dis- 
concerting ambuscades of literature tended by discreet young 
women, who puzzled him by their amazing knowledge of books. 
They seemed to have read them all. 

" Stories about the sea } Yes." And they brought down a 
heap. "What would you like? Pirates or history?" 

He wouldn't say, ashamed to let them see how greatly he, a 
married man, desired to read about pirates. He took up TreaS' 
ure Island. 

" This any good? " he asked, flirting the leaves over. 

" Yes, it has been out some time — quite a classic," said the 
young woman, and he nearly put it down again. But the word 
" pirate " caught his eye on one page and he took it, together 
with Westward Ho! and the Frozen Pirate. 

The curious thing was that he did not notice that these stories 
were in any wise improbable. That they did not happen to him 
was no fault of the world, but himself. It was just accident, 
that was all. They might happen even now. And as he took 
up Treasure Island for the second time, and read the tale of 
the doings at the " Admiral Benbow " inn, it came upon him 
suddenly. " Why," he muttered, " I'm keepin' a pub, or an inn, 
as he calls it! " It was a great discovery. Here he was, keep- 



464 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

ing a tavern in a seaport town^ with seafaring men coming in 
for goes of rum (sometimes), and who could tell when a pirate 
with a wooden leg would not come stumping in? Here he was 
living in romance, and never thought to look at it that way. 
There was the name, too, " Stormy Petrel " 1 It became the pre- 
occupation of his waking moments and the stuff of many dreams, 
this idea of his proximity to the adventurous life of bygone days. 
He would look down into the narrow street and watch the towns- 
people hurrying to and fro, imagining desperate motives and law- 
less schemes to be behind their haste. He longed for a man with 
a wooden leg, and once as he walked down to the shore he saw 
with a queer feeling of delicious horror a blind man, tapping 
along the asphalt path. Surely it was Pew. Alas! the poor 
wretch had a tin cup on his breast, proving he was no pirate save 
upon charitable purses. So it couldn't be Pew. He told Nellie 
of his fancy, alluding to the name of the house. She laughed. 

'* I had tiiought of changing it," she said, '* to get a better 
class of trade. The ' Glamorgan Arms,' or something like that." 

" Oh, you mustn't do that, old lady," he protested. " That 
would spoil it. Think! It's like a bit out of a book. The 
* Stormy Petrel.' " 

She consented to let it stand, if it amused him, and busied 
herself with the more practical side of the house. He insisted 
she should read the book that had so seized upon his imagination, 
and to please him she did so, lamenting the dearth of love in« 
terest. 

'* They're an awful lot of ruffians," she complained. " What 
on earth d'you want to read about people who are always kill- 
ing somebody, Hanny? They'd all be locked up if they behaved 
like that now." But she caught a little of his enthusiasm after 
all, even to the extent of reporting the momentous fact that a 
man with a wooden leg had drunk a glass of beer in the public 
bar one afternoon. 

" And me not in ! " he exclaimed, laughing at himself. 

He bought a parrot, too, a grey, suspicious-looking bird from 
Las Palmas, who loved warmth and squalled at everybody who 
came near. No amount of soothing reiteration of *' Poor Polly, 
Good Polly," would soften the baleful gleam in that sombre 
bird's eye. "They don't talk when they're young," he would 
explain to Nellie, as they stood before the cage. 

" He's awful bad tempered," Nellie would remark. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 465 

" Perhaps 'e's grieving over bein' took away from 'is 'ome," 
Hannibal would suggest, and then the parrot would vent his 
appalling screech, and there was nothing for it but the cloth. . . . 

" I wish 'e'd learn to say ' pieces of eight,' " he would say, 
coughing. It became a custom with him to go down in the 
evening to the saloon bar and talk with the patrons who came 
obviously from ships. Mates and engineers learned to know the 
young boss, and decorative versions of bis life-hiatory passed 
from ship to ship, ran through enlarged editions in foreign ports, 
and came back unrecognisably romantic. It brought business, 
as Nellie expressed it, and so had its uses, though Hannibal 
thought little of that. It wa^very pleasant to lean over the 
bar and watch the drink passing, and add his quota to the stories 
of far-away; pleasant to be able to say, " When I was in Singa- 
pore," or " Yes, I saw her in New York." It gave him a cer- 
tain prestige. It did not disturb these patrons that they had 
beard be had been only a fireman. They only wished they could 
get fixed as he had done. He was good-natured too, and was 
ready to stand occasionally himself, if he knew his company. 
Always he asked at some point in the conversation, " Do you 
know the Caryatidf yellow funnel, black top?" 

" Out of Lottdonf " a second mate would enquire. 

" Ah, BiUiter Lane." 

" Carry passengers, don't they? " 

" Some. Not the Caryatid. Old sugar basket she was." 
And be would laugh and tell them of something that happened 
"while I was in her." 

Always, too, he would look round to see if any one he had 
known was present. It would be delightful to see Spink enter, 
for instance, to see his look of sudden pussled recognition, to 
shake hands and ask him what be would drink. Ask him up- 
stairs? Rather I Or Mr. Hopkins, though Mr. Hopkins did not 
frequent taverns. And, strangely enough, one evening as he 
came through from the grill-room he saw a familiar back. The 
barmaid was opening a bottle of soda water and splashing it 
into a whisky. Hannibal came along behind the bar, his eager 
young face allf^t with pleasure. He nodded. 

"Good evening, Mr. Titheradge." 

" Good evening," said the other, reaching for a match and 
scarcely looking up. 

" Don't remember me, I suppose ? " said Hannibal, smiling. 



466 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

The late Third of the Caryatid regarded his host with atten- 
tion and uttered a subdued and profane ejaculation. 

" Why — what's to do? " he exclaimed. " Swallowed the an- 
chor?" 

Hannibal nodded, enjoying his bewilderment and the polite 
interest of the other customers. 

Mr. Titheradge swallowed his whisky and desired information, 
and Hannibal insisted he should walk upstairs and see the wife. 

"Wife," muttered Titheradge, with his glassy stare. "So 
you did it, then?" 

" Bet your life," grinned Hannibal, leading the way. 

It was a great experience for both of them. The Third was 
frankly generous in his approval of Nellie, and drank half a 
bottle of whisky while he detailed his own career. He had left 
the Caryatid in Liverpool and gone home for Christmas. Got 
a Second's job on a Hartlepool boat — not much of a gamble — 
poor grub and a Chief who behaved as if his feet hurt him — 
just in to bunker — away to-morrow to Flume, and up the Black 
Sea for grain. Spink? Oh, Spink got his ticket and was away 
in one of Kitty Fumess's ships — forget which one — B.A. and 
Rio run. He believed the Caryatid was in Calcutta on time- 
charter. Awful life. He'd had some — damn glad he'd left, 
yes, the Second and Chief were still in her. And Mr. Titheradge 
took another peg. 

" You're pretty well fixed here," he remarked, looking round. 
" Parrot, too. Quite nautical ! Some people do have luck." 

" Why don't you get married too ? " asked Nellie, smiling. 

"Got any sisters?" asked Mr. Titheradge. And Hannibal 
slapped his leg and burst out laughing and coughing. 

" She's married," Nellie answered, tittering. 
There you are ! Just my luck ! " sighed Mr. Titheradge. 
Yes, but there's heaps of nice girls everywhere. You know 
the song? " And she hummed the music-hall ditty: 

TK€rt^$ mctf girU everywhere, 
Nice girU everywhere, 

Mr. Titheradge, eyeing a photogravure entitled " The Garden 
of Eden," which Nellie had bought as a present for Hannibal, 
pursed his lips and looked sceptical. 

" That's what the furnishing pirates say," he remarked. 
" You get married, we do the rest" 



« 
« 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 487 



€4 
it 
€€ 



It's worth trying," urged Hannibal. 

On twelve pounds a month ? '* said the other sarcastically. 
Plenty do it on less/' said Nellie. 

Well, if you hear of anything, let me know," Mr. Tither- 
adge remarked. '* Anything like this, I mean," and he waved 
his hand round the room. " I'll be round pretty sharp, I can 
tell you." 

" If you love each other, it doesn't matter " began Nellie, j 

but the visitor put up his hand. 

" Don't, Mrs. Gooderich, don't — I can't bear it — I can't 
indeed. If I gave that sort of talk its right name^ you'd be 
shocked." 

They stood side by side^ looking at him, as he rose and reached 
for his coat. They were sorry he felt that way. " Come down 
and have a look at the Bloomxngdale** he said to Hannibal, 
accepting a cigar. " I used to think the Caryatid was a wreck, 
but I hadn't seen this packet then. She's a peach. We're in 
the Prince of Wales dock, but he's not there just now." 

" I will," said Hannibal. 

So he did, picking his way next morning among the railway 
ties and discovering Mr. Titheradge in a very warm, dark 
engine-room, for the coal was thundering on the skylights, 
wrestling with an old and recalcitrant reversing-engine. 

"Quite like old times," he remarked, looking round for a 
piece of waste. 

Hannibal talked about the meeting for days, after he had 
stood on the pier head and waved to the old Bloomingdale as 
she crawled out into the Bay one misty February morning. Nel- 
lie listened to him as he went over all the incidents of his sea 
life. 

" Do you want to go to sea again ? " she demanded suddenly^ 
as she sat by a great heap of newspapers in their sitting- 
room. 

He looked at her, startled. The drone of the electric cars in 
Oxford Street came faintly to their ears. 

'* No," he said vaguely, as he looked out into the little street. 
" No, I don't know as I do, Nellie. Seein' the chaps and talkin's 
all right, but I reckon it's the beach for me for a bit yet." 

" A year, anyway," she suggested, hunting among the papers, 
so that her face was hidden from him if he should turn. 

" Ah," he asserted. 



468 CASUALS OF THE SEA 



'' Oh/' she said, " this is what I was looking for. This/' and 
she showed him an advertisement. '' Why not try it? " 

It was a good advertisement in a way, an English way. A 
French or Italian specialist in publicity would have lifted his 
shoulders in despair of the consummate banality of it. An 
American of the same profession would have said it lacked ptinclu 
They would all be right; but for the English, it was a good 
advertisement. It proved that Minnie, who had composed it, 
who had, through Mrs. Wilfley, received twenty pounds for it 
(Mrs. Wilfley merely raking off a trifling fiver), had learned 
the essentials of the art, and had, moreover, a certain propen- 
sity for it. It was plain that she had studied under that culti- 
vated lady the science of " Commercial Psychology," the chair 
of which Sir Anthony Gilfillan had endowed at London Uni- 
versity. The fruitfulness of her study was apparent in the fact 
that she caught Nellie, and Nellie was sharp enough in her own 
line. She knew beer was a deleterious mess in most cases, con- 
taining saline stuff to aggravate thirst instead of allaying it; 
that whisky was faked with potato spirit, and port was doctored 
with log-wood; but she did not think that there was aught of 
guile in that advertisement. It was headed in exquisite Kelm- 
scott type. Are you anxious about some one you love? 

She was. Well, was she lying awake thinking of some predons 
soul who was all in all to her? Did she note, with the piercing 
eye of affection, symptoms that none but she could see.^ Was 
she afraid to exaggerate some possible trifle by speaking of it? 

Did she realise this risk? 

What would she say to herself, when it was too late? 

Would she ever forgive herself if she failed to try every rem- 
edy? 

Perhaps the doctor had said nothing. Oh, yes, but with all 
respect for the whole medical profession, was it not human to 
err? Was it not madness to believe in the infallibility of a 
poor mortal being like a doctor? Why, it was gross irreligion 
savouring almost of papistry. 

Humanum est errare. 

So far the clever spacing and arresting type had carried Nel- 
lie along, but now the advertisement got down to business and 
the type got down to two-line pica. And when a modem adver- 
tisement, composed by a student of Commercial Psychology, gets 
down to business, the reader begins to shake in his or her shoes. 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 469 

Nellie shraiik as from a whip when she first read It. It was 
gross irreligion, folly, to place a blind confidence in an erring 
human practitioner, was it not? But what was it, then, to ne^ 
lect the aid held out to you bj those who had devoted their lives 
to your welfare? It was not merely irreliglon, it was not merely 
folly, it was criminal neglect! In all solemnity, and with a 
full consciousness of the gravity of their words, the proprietors 
of Fochabir's Codoh Eliminator had no hesitation in describ- 
ing it as criminal neglect. No money need be sent, no respon- 
sibility was incurred, by writing to-day for a sample bottle. The 
poorest had no excuse, while the spread of education enabled 
the most humble of their brothers and sisters to learn the glad 
tidings of great joy which had been brought to many by this 
incomparable preparation. 

It was a very good advertisement 

"What do yoa think?" Nellie asked, anxiously watching 
Hannibal's face as his eyes travelled down the page and rested 
finally upon the picture, a woman with streaming hair, kneeling 
by a bedside, entitled, " Too Late." Hannibal put the paper 
down, obviously perturbed. 

" Me, my cough, you mean? Oh, it's nothing." 

The same thought flashed through their minds at the same 
instant. That was jast what the advertisement said, and then 
— " too late." 

" It won't do any harm just to try it," she ventured, and he 
nodded. "All right, old lady. Go ahead." 

The afternoon was fine, the first of a series of fine spring 
days when the white clouds raced across the blue sky and dis- 
appeared behind the green hills over the town, when the sea 
sparkled and corled under the whip of the westerly wind. Nel- 
lie went to a druggist's shop and purchased a bottle of Focfaa- 
ber's Eliminator. It was in a tasteful pasteboard box, wrapped 
with testimonials, and directions in thirty-nine languages, and 
had a Government seal on one end. Minnie had done the work 
for her employers most thoroughly and well, Mrs. Wilfiey had 
told no untruth when she said to guests at her new flat in the 
Temple, an eyrie overlooking the Thames, that some of Mrs. 
Briscoe's writings, like her own, though not to be named, had 
been translated into as many languages as the Scriptures? And 
while Mrs. Wilfley smiled and Minnie looked out upon the deli- 
cate Thames noctozne that evening, Nellie and Hannibal, In their 



t* 
« 



470 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

own sitting-room over the bar of the " Stormy Petrel/' carefolly 
removed the polyglottic wrappings of the bottle of Fochaber's 
Eliminator, and gazed with a simple speechless awe upon the 
mystic bottle within, as though it had contained a god. For it 
was no use trying to treat the matter lightly. There was no 
badinage or frivolous jesting about Fochaber's. The innermost 
wrapper was devoted to symptoms and medical terms. Pleurisy, 
Nellie read, was either diaphragmatic or interlobular. In either 
case prevention was better than cure. Beware of the cough, that 
dry cough. They looked at each other. Was Hannibal's coug^ 
dry? " Sometimes I spit stuff," he remarked. 

" But it's generally dry," she argued, and he nodded. 

And the next day he was better. He had been for a good 
swinging walk round to Oystermouth and back, and eaten a 
hearty tea. He felt better. They exchanged smiles and con- 
gratulations over the breakfast table. 

Wasn't it a good job I thought of it? " she said. 
Rather. I'LL go on with it," he returned. And he did. 
Three bottles at half a crown each were purchased and used, 
and each time after a dose he felt better. He went out for 
walks, visited neighbours, looked up chance acquaintances on 
the ships, and amused himself devising adventurous happenings 
on the way. In time he would be all right. And Nellie regis- 
tered a vow that she would write to Fochaber's and tell them 
what she owed them. It would be only right. 

So time passed on, and with the coming of summer Hannibal 
did to all seeming improve, though Nellie thought it best for 
him to take his medicine regularly, in case of relapse. They 
paid a visit to Neath and saw Mrs. Lloyd and her husband, the 
steward, and Haibibal learned something of the ins and outs 
of that department of life. And then an event of great im- 
portance to Nellie happened. 

Mrs. Gooderich Senior came down on a visit. 

Hannibal met her at the station in a lordly way, and quite 
overwhelmed her with his fine new clothes, his watch-chain, 
his moustache, his cab, his cuff-links, and his cigar, which last 
made him cough. Was this Hanny? Was it possible that this 
was the dirty little rapscallion who used to go fishing in Littler's 
Pond? 

There was a suspicion of smugness about his mother's face 
nowadays. The Facts, having bowled over her moral sense, had 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 471 

gone on to smooth ont the wrinkles of existence to such an ex- 
tent that Mrs. Gooderich Senior was in danger of becoming 
supercilious. She grew sceptical even of the genuineness of 
those people who couldn't make ends meet. She told Hannibal 
that the working-classes were a lot better off than the middle- 
classes, which smeUed to Hannibal like a piece of Minnie's 
philosophy. She approved of Nellie, who was a little uncer- 
tain of herself just then, and laughed without any apparent 
reason, and she gave an unmistakable verdict in favour of Focha- 
ber's — why, it was advertised all over London. She heard Mrs. 
Wilfley say Fochaber's had paid fifty thousand in London alone 
to the space-brokers. Think of that! 

She stayed two months, winning Nellie's confidence and en- 
joying the sea air. Sitting on the pier at Mumbles one serene 
evening, Mrs. Gooderich suddenly realised how extremely for- 
tunate her life had been since she had relinquished her uncom- 
promising sense of honesty. And yet, what was wrong with her 
life? Nothing. She lived with her daughter, who had mar- 
ried well; she had been staying with her son, who h&i married 
still more well. What could be more respectable than her 
existence in Tedworth Square? True, she did not dare to inter- 
fere or even show herself too much when Minnie's fine friends 
came. She contented herself with tending the endless needs of 
Anthony Briscoe, whose dark eyes gazed up at her occasionally 
from the cradle. Even there hers was a back seat, for the 
trained nurse resented suggestions. After all, she had only to 
be quiet, and life flowed on smoothly month after month, un- 
assailed by money troubles. She read Mrs. Wilfley's articles in 
Sunday Words or in the daily papers, and felt uplifted. She 
read novels, " old favourites " like Left With a Trust, and all 
the Pansy stories. And she and Nellie found a point of joyous 
contact in a common appreciation of Allen Raine. Nellie, for 
all her shrewd practical business sense, revelled in the stories 
of AUen Raine. So did Mrs. Gooderich Senior when she be- 
came acquainted with theuL Together they smiled on Hanny's 
fancies for pirates and dead men's chests, and they gave the 
parrot the b^efit of much elegant conversation concerning ** she " 
and " he " and what " they " did in the historical present of ro- 
mance. They attended chapel together, and enjoyed in a mild 
way the spiritual ecstasy of comfortable prayer. 

No. Ab she sat there on the pier that evening, Mary Goode- 






472 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

rich felt that her lines had fallen upon pleasant places^ and that 
she had earned a little rest. 

And so, I think^ she had. 

It was in September that a sudden idea came to Nellie as she 
sat at a table covered with papers. She was enclosing a clieqiie 
for the fire insurance of the premises^ when a little list a£ life 
premiums fell on her lap from the sheaf of papers in her hand. 
She looked up. 

"Hanny?" 

Hannibal came out of the depths of Roderick Random with a 
grunt of enquiry. 

" You ought to insure your life ! " 

"Me?" 

'* Yes. You see, the sooner you start the better. Look here. 

It says " He bent his head down to hers. " it says, 

'Age next birthday twenty, premium for two hundred ponndsy 
two pounds five a year. Redeemable when you're fifty at three 
hundred pounds.' Hanny! Just think what a nice little nest- 
egg that'll be for — for you know!" 

Hannibaly his hands on his knees, looked down at his feet. 

" All right, old lady/' he said soberly. '' I don't reckon that'll 
break us." 

"It says any doctor, you see?" She pointed* "You've got 
to see a doctor, of course." 

He nodded, sunk once more in his chair and Roderick Random. 

An intense conviction had taken hold of his mind as he 
steadily made his way through tale after tale of adventure and 
mystery; a conviction that, when he might least expect it, the 
True Romance would sweep into his existence. He would let 
the book slide, and stare away into vacancy, seeking for he 
knew not what. Life was a wonderful thing! Who could tell 
what might not happen to him, if he only had the wit to seixe 
the chance? 

" It'll come," he would say to himself, " it'll come, if I wait" 

So it did, embodied unostentatiously in a very young man, 
whose overcoat buttons fell away from the holes and disclosed 
a uniform of stark newness. That was a raw October night, a 
week before NeUie suddenly decided to go and see the doctor, 
for various reasons. 

'* You'd think I only needed a big brass helmet to be the hero 
of the piece," said the young man in facetious allusion to his 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 473 

unifonn. "And when I tell you," he added, leaning confi- 
dentially across the bar, "that I'm only the Third Mate of 
her, you'll wonder what the Old Man must be like when he's 
got his war-paint on, eh ? " 

" Passenger boat? " asked HannibaL 

" Not on your life ! " The young man was evidently con- 
fronted by a situation beyond his scope. He drank a little more 
whisky. "Have you ever seen a wind-bag with a propeller?" 

" Not me." 

"Well, come down and look at the Beile Glds — she's in the 
North Dock. She's worth a squint. I joined her at Clydebank, 
and she was called the mystery ship up there. 'What's her 
cargo ? ' says I to the rigger. * Wine for the owner/ says he. 
' That's why she carries electric windlass and winches, steam 
would spoil the bouquet of the ninety-three.' All piff, o' course, 
but there you are. A thousand tons, four masts, Yankee rig, a 
six-foot propeller, electric lights, wireless, and the finest ac- 
conunodation I've ever seen. She's a floating Pullman ! " 

And it was all true. Hannibal went down the rain-swept 
Wind Street the next day and saw her. 

She was of grey steel, with four tall masts carrying enormous 
booms. Her deck-houses were of teak and glittering with 
varnish, German silver, and electric light reflectors. One blade 
of an undeniable propeller stuck above the water. To add to 
the mystery, a board marked " No Admittance " hung forbid- 
dingly by the gangway. There was no reservation in favour 
of those " on business," no suggestion that a man might quite 
legitimately stroll up and ask for a friend, say the Third Mate. 
It was as plain as one of the Ten Commandments, as terse as an 
act of God. " No Admittance." 

He returned to the "Stormy Petrel" thinking of treasure- 
seekers, forgotten lands, rich owners, and mouldering maps. It 
grew in his mind, this conviction that he had found a romance. 
"Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!" Each evenhig that talk- 
ative young man in the shining uniform leaned over the bar, and 
smiled, and added fresh fuel to the fire of his imagination, mys- 
terious hints — sealed orders — stores for two years on board 
— all British crew — a machine gun — tons of ammunition — 
marked tinned meat on the manifest of course, ha-ha ! — and so 
on. And as the days passed, a crazy scheme took shape in Han- 
nibal's mind, and the two heads leaned closer together^ the 



474 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

rounds dark^ bullet head of the Londoner and the long, high- 
crowned cranium of the jouth^ who came^ obviously enough^ fron 
Londonderry. 

" Sure^ man, it can be done,'' the latter was saying. '* We'n 
going off to the buoy about twelve. The Captain, who hasnH 
come back from Plymouth yet, is to join us about that time. 
If you come down about seven, say, and walk aboard as if you'd 
business with us, you understand? Seven, say. I must run 
now. The Stores have come for the Captain to-day — con- 
signed from Plymouth." 

" I'll be down," said Hannibal. 

It was a simple. scheme of his, simple, plausible, and stark 
mad. He would dress himself in his old clothes, slip down to 
the Beile Glds, and get the Third Mate to show him round, and 
then — trust to luck to stow himself away. He must seize this 
chance to swing on to the car of True Romance as it passed 
him. He must find out the tale of this strange visitant. The 
Beile Glds! Stores from Plymouth! Sealed orders] Lununyl 

He went round whistling softly to himself, watching the clock. 

"Going out to-night, dear?" said Nellie casually, and he 
jumped. 

"Oh, I may," he remarked. 

" I saw Dr. Rhys Evans to-day/* she chatted. " He's com- 
ing round to-morrow morning." 

"I see," said Hannibal. "Where's my old overcoat?" he 
asked. 

"Whatever for?" 

" I'm going down to 'ave a look at a ship, see? Makes the 
do's so dirty." 

" I gave it away months ago," she told him. " What do you 
want to go messing about ships for ? " she queried fretfully. 

" Well, I can if I like, can't I ? " he answered, a little cross. 

" Oh, go if you want to " she said, and he waited for the 

word "dear," but it did not come. He felt aggrieved. She 
took no interest. He took his usual coat and cap and went out. 
It was already seven o'clock. He must hurry. He ran down 
Wind Street and full into a keen autumnal gale sweeping along 
the Port Tennant Road. And when he reached the dock-side 
he was in a bath of perspiration. 

At first he could see nothing. The stretch of water where 
the grey ship had been was clear, sparkling, and empty. Then 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 475 

he understood. That dull patch in the shadow of the ware- 
houseSy a patch with a single light hanging near the bow, was 
the BeUe (Slds, at the buoy. He was too late. 

He stood for a moment, bennmbed of brain, slowly rousing 
from the curious aberration that had possessed him. He sat 
down on one of the bitts and tried to think. What was to be 
done? He could not go back just now. He wanted to see the 
Seile Glds go out. It all crystallised down to that in time. He 
must see the Beile Glds go out. It seemed to him, as he looked 
across at the silent ship, that she held more than a general 
mystery. She held part of himself, a part he was about to 
relinquish, a certain delicate sense of illusion, and she was tak- 
ing it out to sea, to lose it on the trackless waters where he 
had found it. It was in obedience to this feeling that he waited 
on; and when, about nine o'clock, he heard some commotion 
near her and a tug came out of the gloom, he turned and ran 
along the road again, far out on the pier where the red light 
bums, so that he might see her pass. It was cold and very 
dark there, mysteriously cold and dark, the wind blowing through 
the timber piles and the black water moving unseen with an ooze 
and a slap below him. Several times he shivered and coughed, 
but he took no heed. He was looking at the town lights round 
the bay, at the dark hills touched with the crimson glare of the 
steel works over by Landore. What a pity, he murmured, what 
a pity he had missed her! Here was a treasure-ship going out 
on the tide, a treasure ship, and he had missed her. He would 
be out of all the fun after all, out of tiie fights with savages and 
buccaneers. He had hoped to see them swing at the end of 
those tremendous booms. Of course he would be under hatches 
during the fight, but when all the ammunition had been sent up 
and it came to the final rush, he would grab a cutlass and . . . 

He became aware of her, a trembling blackness in the shadows, 
a faint pubation, communicating itself to the timbers on which 
he stood. She drew nearer, looming large above him, her tall 
masts blood-red in the light of the lantern, the smoke of the 
tug drifting through her rigging like the smoke of battle. He 
saw dark forms on her decks going back and forth, he heard the 
clang of a bell, a gruff voice, and the soft purr of a dynamo. A 
shrill whistle sounded as she cleared, and he strained his eyes 
to see the last of her as she receded. She was gone, gone with 
her secret and his, and a sigh escaped him. It was gone forever^ 



478 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

She looked at him with wide^ scared eyes and an ezpressk 
on her face as though she was saying, " Yes, yes, all my fanB 
Hit me hard. It was my fault." He looked at her. 

'* Get some one, sister or some one, to stay with you/' h 
suggested. " You understand? " 

And Mrs. Lloyd arrived in the afternoon. 

The crisis came quickly. His system, never very vi^porooa 
had been silently but definitely undermined by his sickness 
the East, his lungs were full of coal dust, and his stomad 
deranged by the opium and mercury and formaldehyde of thai 
beneficent proprietary, Fochaber's Eliminator. 

" Good heavens ! " said tlie doctor to Mrs. Lloyd. " And tbcr 
wanted to insure his life ! " 

" Get some one else down," he told her another time. " Yo» 
must keep her quiet. You luiderstand? " 

And so Mrs. Gooderich Senior left Tedworth Square and 
journeyed down to Swansea again. When Nellie saw her motfaer- 
in-law safely into the house, she retired from the sick roont 
" Don't you worry now," said the doctor. ** He'll be round 
sooner than you are. He'll soon pick up when we have something 
to tell him." 

But to Mrs. Lloyd and Mrs. Gooderich Senior he reiterated 
his doubts. " Like a pack of cards," he repeated. " He has no 
ballast to carry him through a thing like this." 

And early in the following week, on a day when Winter 
rushed through the streets shaking at the casements and sending 
pieces of paper high over the roofs, that was just how he did 
go down, like a pack of cards. He lay there motionless, his eyes 
closed, the leaping flames of the fire illuminating his face witb 
a sudden fugitive and disturbing radiance. He lay there think- 
ing in an absolute mental calm, looking out upon the little 
ocean of his life, its currents and storms forgotten, merely pon- 
dering upon its ultimate utility. What was the good of this 
life? he asked, without rancour or impertinence, of the silent 
Fates. He was not complaining. He had had a good time, and 
the world was an astonishing place, well worth a visit Bat 
surely there was something else. Life wasn't just a museum, 
through which one wandered, delighted with the strange things 
all around one, going out finally into the night, nothing done. 
One left something behind. Where was he? He had seen that 



J 



CASUALS OF THE SEA 479 

. . dim ship pass out^ bearing in her heart his Lost Illusion. One 
^ «, odd fancy took him, and his mother^ watching his face, saw a 
.^ slight creasing of the cheeks as he smiled, a fancy that had 
^^, been the beginning of the end. He was going piece by piece. 
'/ Here he was lying quite peacefully on his back, and NeUie was 
— ah ! that was hard lines. Would he not see her again ? They 
. had got on so well for their short time. She loved him, looked 
^ • after him, understood that idea of his that already floated away. 
'J, After all^ he was not cut out for practical business^ not cut 
t^ out . . . 

^ He became aware of a subdued murmur near him, near the 
«, door. Some one was bending over him, touching his hands. 
^ He heard his mother speaking in his ear, and then quite sud- 
denly, and almost unreasonably, he found himself smiling and 
7 ^ feeling glad. Good ! A boy ! Lummy ! The murmur subsided 
and quiet reigned, broken only by the distant noise of the trams 
^ ^ and the crackling of the fire. Was this the reason, then ? An- 
i'^ other piece broken away. Soon he would be ready to go out 
^^ on his own quiet adventure. That was how he had grown to 
^'^^ look at it. Here in this life, you were up against hard practical 
1^ efficient people and things, with occasional exasperating glimpses 
into another world. No use grumbling; while you were here 
^., you had to fall in line. His mistake had been that he had tried 
'^ to live in both worlds at once. No good. But now^ out there 

f alone? He would see. 
^ Sometimes, during that evening, he grieved quietly for the 

^^ absence of Nellie, who had been so benign a pillow when he 
^. was in danger of suffering from the ceaseless indurations of 
^' business. And from that he slipped into a renewed conscious- 
^'^ ness of this obscure joy, this scarce- won fatherhood, seeing it 
'^ as a great light afar off, swinging dizzily in space, a light on the 
'{ coast he was leaving behind. Little by little the light grew 
dim, his hold on reality slackened, and he babbled of nameless 
= ' things — things that had lain in the depths of his mind for long 
^' years, words that were like empty shells of long-dead ideas. 
Forgotten baby talk, like strings of feathery weed, fluttered 
from his lips and troubled the scarcely-comprehending solicitude 
of his mother. And sometimes he wept, feeling lost in the dark. 
'' Sealed orders," he would murmur. " Going out with sealed 
orders." And then "Pieces of eight!" She wished she could 



480 CASUALS OF THE SEA 

help him^ but he had always been such a tranquil chOd^ thought- 
ful too^ and secretive. She sat at his bedside, an anxious woman 
verging upon old age. And he was dying, her son was dying. 
I doubt very much if she realised it 

She had never seen any one die. When her husband had been 
carried home, the melodramatic trappings of his transition had 
covered like a gorgeous pall the centrtd sordid fact. So, too, 
with Bert, who had died with icl&t, six thousand miles away, 
leaving behind for her memory to feed on not even a body or a 
funer^, only a blue War Office form and a misspelt name in a 
newspaper. She knew these things as she knew of events in a 
book. Here was a son dying before her eyes. Already he had 
gone off to the buoys, and in a little while he would go over the 
bar. She did not realise it. 

I don't suppose Mrs. Gooderich Senior changed much after 
tliis experience. She was now ** set,'' as she said. Her blue 
eyes were no longer the dark blue of the days when the brisk 
young baker's man touched her rustic heart. Her blue eyes 
were nearer green now, flecked with grey, and regarding you 
equably from a region of peace, a sort of neutral ground com- 
mon to great sinners, great saints, and great sufferers. It b 
really, only we are loath to give it its right name, a species of 
ennuu A human soul is limited. It grows unresponsive after 
a certain number of excitations, and we call it peace, whereas 
it is really fatigue, a kind of hysteresis. Mrs. Gooderich had 
suffered, and her mind could respond no more. She could not 
transmute her sorrow into exquisite art, nor could she share 
the finer ecstasies of the Church. She felt that, after all, com- 
fort and freedom from money trouble were the cardinal things 
of life, and even the spectacle of her son dying did not disturb 
this conviction. He belonged, moreover, to another woman. She 
had not understood that wild breakaway when he went to sea. 
Why should he want to go to sea? His Uncle George had dis- 
approved. Was Amelia married now, she wondered. She had 
heard that she was walking out with a water clerk, whom sbr 
had met in Billiter Lane. • • • 

She was lost in a maze of conjectures, this woman verging on 
old age, when she noticed the thin hand on the coverlet mj^lring 
a gesture of throwing something away. 
What ia it, dear? " she whispered. 
Cast off, cast off," he muttered. "Sealed orders." And 






CASUALS OF THE SEA 481 

^rMe sbe was wondering if she bad not better call some one, he 
smiled and went out into the night. 

It is spring again in Abertawe, and the white cloada flit mer- 
rily across the blue aky over the white-lipped waters of the 
Bay. There is a joyous bluster in the wind that races around 
post Oystermouth, and rustles in the trees up Sketty way, whis- 
pering " Youth ! Youth ! " All the world is green and glorious 
upon the billaides, and in the lanes lovers are walking to and fro. 
And in the " Stormy Petrel," as I see it in my mind's eye, there 
is that incomparable woman in rich black, and all the prettier 
in the neat widow's cap, superintending with unremitting care 
the red fragment of humanity in the cradle and the business he 
will some day inherit. I sit and see it, in my mind's eye, and 
think. It is an excellent business. 

Mrs. Gooderich Senior is gone back long ago to the comfort 
of Tedworth Square. I think it was Fochaber'a upon which 
they differed chiefly, for Mrs. Gooderich Senior, having heard 
of it at first hand, would believe no ill of Fochabers. Be that 
ma it may, she is gone back to London, to the discreet household 
in Tedworth Square. There she is, it is true, somewhat a 
cypher, save when Captain Briscoe comes home for a week-end. 
She and he are united in admiration of the astonishing money 
to be earned by writing advertisements. Sometimes Mrs. Wil- 
fiey, occupied upon a new book entitled The Souteneur, will call, 
ineffably affable, and talking heart to heart will tell Mrs. Goode- 
rich some of her spiritual divagations. And Anthony Gilfillsn 
is a fine hoy. It will not be long before Tedworth Square for- 
gets the " Stormy Petrel " and the pretty widow who visits a 
grave out at Port Tennant Cemetery every Sunday. 

But for me, I have not forgotten, and I think that when the 
spring Is yet a little more advanced, I shall run down to Abertawe. 
I should like to make sore that Nellie, in spite of what she says, 
had really given op all idea of marrying again. 




THB COUNTRY UFB FBSSa 
GAKDEN CITT, N. T. 



FORM NO. DD6 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. BERKEIfY 
BERKELEY, CA 94720